Archive for August, 2008

Cleveland Browns Redraft:1993

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

I’m continuing my series of reworking the drafts of the Cleveland Browns under Bill Belichick. Having completed a redo of thefirst two years, I now move on to 1993 and see what the team did originally.

Originally, the Browns made a few draft pick trades in 1993.  The first was moving down three spots in the first round (from 11 to 14) by swapping picks with Denver, and also picking up the Broncos third round pick. They also gave up their original third round pick to Detroit (for DT Jerry Ball), 4th rounder to Chicago (for C Jay Hilgenberg), and 8th rounder to the Rams (for LB Frank Stams).That left the team with six picks total. Here’s how it played out:

Round Number Player
1 14 C Steve Everitt
2 42 DE Dan Footman
3 83 LB Mike Caldwell
5 124 T Herman Arvie
6 153 LB Rich McKenzie
7 180 LB Travis Hill

Overall,the original draft by Cleveland in 1993 probably would get a C grade. Everitt was a good player, as was Footman and Caldwell. However, none we spectacular. Arvie also had a decent career, mainly playing as a backup. McKenzie and Hill never did much with their short careers. However, looking back on the players available in 1993, this could have been a much more productive draft. Let’s now take this draft with what I’ve accomplished with the last two.

First off, let’s look at where the team stands based on our new 1991 and 1992 drafts, and see what positions are filled, and what’s still needed. I’ve included the number of Pro Bowls each player was actually elected to after their names.

Offense Defense
QB Brett Favre (9) DT Chester McGlockton (4)
FB Kimble Anders (3) DT Santana Dotson
RB Gary Brown DE Michael Sinclair (3)
WR Keenan McCardell (2) DE none taken
WR Robert Brooks MLB Ed McDaniel (1)
TE Ben Coates (5) OLB Mo Lewis (3)
C Jay Leeuwenburg OLB Bryan Cox (3)
G Kendall Gammon CB Aeneas Williams (8)
G none taken CB Dale Carter (4)
T Erik Williams (4) SS none taken
T none taken FS Merton Hanks (4)

I think that’s a pretty impressive team after only two drafts. Also, the Browns still had a few Pro Bowl players that were a part of the team before 1991: DT Michael Dean Perry, DE Rob Burnett, WR Webster Slaughter (remember I didn’t cut him), RB Eric Metcalf, QB Bernie Kosar and T Tony Jones. Both Kosar’s and Slaughter’s careers are winding down at this point, but we’ve effectively replaced those two positions. We also have drafted some depth at CB (Mark McMillian) and MLB/ILB (Corey Widmer).

Looking back withwhat we’ve done over the last two years, there’s some holes we still need to fill. We don’t have a stud strong safety and still have holes along the offensive line (mainly guard). I would also like to improve our running back situation and gain some additional depth at wide receiver. I also think the three draft trades mentioned above to pick up players is now unnecessary, since the three player positions that were traded for (DT, C, LB) were effectively filled via the draft. So our draft picks now look like this:

Round Number Player
1 14 C Steve Everitt
2 42 DE Dan Footman
3 68 ???
3 83 LB Mike Caldwell
4 100 ???
5 124 T Herman Arvie
6 153 LB Rich McKenzie
7 180 LB Travis Hill
8 209 ???

We are now left with nine picks in the draft. Here’s what I would do with them:

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
1 14 C Steve Everitt DE Michael Strahan

Even though defensive end isn’t a pressing need at this point, you just cannot pass on Strahan. If every team had a doever this year, he would easily be one of the top three picks in that draft instead of sliding to the mid-second round. A seven time Pro Bowler, Strahan just ended his career this past season as the NFL’s all-time sack leader.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
2 42 DE Dan Footman FS John Lynch

This was probably the most difficuly repick I’ve come across, not because of Lynch’s talent, but because free safety is not a pressing need with Merton Hanks being taken two years earlier. I debated about drafting LB Chad Brown for a number of reasons. One being his versatility playing both as inside and outside linebacker during his career. It would also be a good ball-kicker to the division rival Steelers, who drafted Brown originally. But with taking Jesse Armstead later, and Lynch’s nine Pro Bowl selections, I just couldn’t pass him up.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
3 68 none G Will Shields

A stud out of Nebraska, Shields is probably the best offensive lineman during the 1990s. After becoming a starter early on in his rookie year, he started 230 consecutive games for the Chiefs, a team record and second in the league only to Favre. During his 14-year career, he failed to start in only one game, his very first, and was elected to 12 straight Pro Bowls from 1995-2006.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
3 83 LB Mike Caldwell G Ron Stone

Originally taken by the Cowboys, Stone was on the line with Erik Williams for two Super Bowl championship teams. However, he went to three Pro Bowls after leaving the Cowboys for the Giants and 49ers. He played 12 years with four different teams, and could also play tackle.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
4 100 none QB Mark Brunell

With Kosar becoming more fragile and Favre asserting himself as the new starting quarterback, it’s not a bad idea to find a capable backup. Its rather ironic that this is the exact same scenario that played out for real, but with the team being the Packers, and Don Majikowski playing the role of injured incumbent. Brunell also made the Pro Bowl three times after being traded to Jacksonville.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
5 124 T Herman Arvie LB Jessie Armstead

Another late draft steal (taken in the eight round by the Giants), Armstead was a terror on defense for 11 years, going to the Pro Bowl five times. Armstead had 752 career tackles with 40 sacks and 12 interceptions for 175 yards.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
6 153 LB Rich McKenzie TE Frank Wycheck

Originally drafted by the Redskins, Wycheck came into prominence during his second year in the league as a member of the Oilers (and later the Titans). During his 11-year career, he amassed 505 receptions for 5,126 yards and 28 touchdowns. He is one of only five tight ends to surpass 500 receptions in NFL history, and led the Titans in receiving for three consecutive years. He also went to three Pro Bowls. He would be a great compliment to Ben Coates.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
7 180 LB Travis Hill WR Troy Brown

Another late-round gem, Brown has played the last 15 years with the Patriots, playing a key role in their three Super Bowl championships. Although he’s only made one Pro Bowl during his career, following the 2001 season where he recorded 101 catches for 1199 yards and 5 touchdowns, Brown is know for his overall talent and versatility. He has on occassion played defensive back, has been an exceptional kick returner, and also played quarterback in emergency situations. He’s an overall talent that any team can use.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
8 209 none SS Blaine Bishop

Bishop had a stellar ten-year career with the Oilers, and was a steal in the eight round. Know as one of the hardest hitting safeties in the league, Bishop was elected to four Pro Bowls.

1993 Redraft Summary

Out of our four areas of focus, I think I’ve effectively addressed three of them. I loaded up the offensive line with Shields and Stone, drafted a stud SS with Bishop, and added receiver depth with not only Troy Brown, but Wycheck as well. I also turned a strong defense into one of the best with Strahan, Lynch and Armstead, and got some quarterback insurance with Brunell. With nine picks, I took players that amassed a combined 47 Pro Bowls. And this is still passing on players such as LB Chad Brown (3 Pro Bowls), FS Brock Marion (3 Pro Bowls) and MLB Barry Minter. This was a draft class that was second to only the 1991 class with quality and depth. Updating our chart from the beginning, the Browns would now look like this:

Offense Defense
QB Brett Favre (9) DT Chester McGlockton (4)
FB Kimble Anders (3) DT Santana Dotson
RB Gary Brown DE Michael Sinclair (3)
WR Keenan McCardell (2) DE Michael Strahan (7)
WR Robert Brooks MLB Ed McDaniel (1)
TE Ben Coates (5) OLB Mo Lewis (3)
C Jay Leeuwenburg OLB Bryan Cox (3)
G Will Shields (12) CB Aeneas Williams (8)
G Ron Stone (3) CB Dale Carter (4)
T Erik Williams (4) SS Blaine Bishop (4)
T none taken FS Merton Hanks (4)

That would give us 38 Pro Bowl appearances on offense, and another four if you count Frank Wycheck and Troy Brown. We would also have 41 on defense, and another 14 with Lynch and Armstead. At this point, the new 1990s Browns should be developing into one of the best teams in the league, with only right tackle and running back as weak areas. We’ll see if I can do anything about that in 1994.

Cleveland Browns Redraft: 1992

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Recently, I’ve been revisiting the Cleveland Browns draft picks during the last 20 years and, with hindsight as my tool, thinking how I would have done things differently. Most recently, I’m redoing the  Browns drafts in the early 1990s under Bill Belichick. Below is the result of the 1991 redraft:

Round Number Player
2 29 QB Brett Favre
3 57 CB Aeneas Williams
3 62 OLB Mo Lewis
3 70 T Erik Williams
4 85 OLB Bryan Cox
5 112 TE Ben Coates
5 122 FS Merton Hanks
5 127 DE Michael Sinclair
8 197 RB Gary Brown
11 280 WR Keenan McCardell
12 308 FB Kimble Anders

Now let’s move on to year 2 of the Belichick regime, 1992. The season began on a sour note, when the head coach jettisoned longtime Browns receivers Reggie Langhorne and Webster Slaughter that summer, a move not appreciated by the fans. Although the season was respectible (7-9 finish) and the defense improved, the offense was horrible. The line was still sub-standard, Kosar- sacked eleven times in an ugly opening-day loss to the Colts- was oft-injured, the running game was among the league’s worst, and the receiver corps lacked quality depth, even as Slaughter and Langhorne played well for their new teams. Belichick also misused running back Eric Metcalf, regularly trying to run him up the middle, to little avail. The conflict with quarterback Bernie Kosar would also begin to show during this season, as Kosar sat out most of the year with injuries, and the head coach developed an unhealthy fascination with third-stringer Todd Philcox.
Another area that came into question was the Brown’s 1992 draft, and especially the first round pick of Tommy Vardell. Overall, the 1992 draft by the Browns was nothing to write home about:

Round Number Player
1 9 FB Tommy Vardell
2 52 WR Patrick Rowe
3 65 DT Bill Johnson
3 78 LB Gerald Dixon
6 143 WR Rico Smith
6 163 DT George Williams
7 177 DB Sewlyn Jones
9 233 DB Tim Hill
10 260 DT Marcus Lowe
11 289 WR Augustin Olobia
12 316 QB Keithen McCant
12 329 OL Tim Simpson

Cleveland did some draft-day dealing that year, moving down in the 2nd round and giving up their 5th round pick to the Cowboys in exchange for Dallas’ late 2nd round, 3rd, 6th, 8th and 12th round picks. The Browns also gave up an 8th round pick to the Patriots for OL Freddie Childress, which was a complete bust. As new GM, I wouldn’t make the trade with New England, but go ahead with Dallas. Here’s what our draft board would look like:

Round Number Player
1 9 FB Tommy Vardell
2 52 WR Patrick Rowe
3 65 DT Bill Johnson
3 78 LB Gerald Dixon
6 143 WR Rico Smith
6 163 DT George Williams
7 177 DB Sewlyn Jones
8 205 ???
9 233 DB Tim Hill
10 260 DT Marcus Lowe
11 289 WR Augustin Olobia
12 316 QB Keithen McCant
12 329 OL Tim Simpson

That gives us 13 picks total. Based on our highly-successful draft of 1991, our areas of need are wide receiver, offensive line, running back, inside/middle linebacker, cornerback, strong safety, and depth along the defensive line. Unfortunately, the 1992 class is nowhere near as deep and the previous, but still had some talent. However, I would like to move up higher to better players. My fantasy deal would be with the Atlanta Falcons, owners of the 8 and 19 picks in the draft. I would ask for the 19th pick in exchange for my 3rd (65), 6th (143), 8th (205), and 9th (233) round picks. I would then trade my 3rd (78), 6th (163) and both 12th (316, 329) draft picks to the Green Bay Packers for their two 5th (119, 130) and 9th (240) round picks. Our revised draft board now looks like this:

Round Number Player
1 9 FB Tommy Vardell
1 19 ???
2 52 WR Patrick Rowe
5 119 ???
5 130 ???
7 177 DB Sewlyn Jones
9 240 ???
10 260 DT Marcus Lowe
11 289 WR Augustin Olobia

That gives us nine picks to work with. Here’s what I would do with them:

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
1 9 FB Tommy Vardell DT Chester McGlockton

McGlockton made four straight Pro Bowls with the Raiders during his ten-year career. During those Pro Bowl years, he averaged eight sacks a season. He would have been the final piece in an all-pro defensive line with Perry, Burnett and Sinclair.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
1 19 none CB Dale Carter

Dale Carter was spectacular from the beginning, chosen as the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. A vital part of the Chiefs’ defense in the 1990s, Carter was elected to four Pro Bowls, and would have given the Browns two of the best shut-down corners in the league with Aeneas Williams.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
2 52 WR Patrick Rowe WR Robert Brooks

Brooks was a key weapon for Brett Favre during the Packers success during the 1990s. He started off as a talented kick returner, leading the league kickoff returns in 1993 with a 26.6-yard average. In 1995, he set a franchise record with 1,497 receiving yards on 102 receptions, and scored 13 touchdowns. After missing half the 1996 season with a torn ACL, he won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award in 1997, catching 60 passes for 1,010 yards and 7 touchdowns. He would have been the next wave of a solid receiving corps. (I would not have released Slaughter and Langhorne.)

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
5 119 none ILB Ed McDaniel

McDaniel played ten years with the Minnesota Vikings, anchoring their defense. He made the Pro Bowl in 1998.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
5 130 none DT Santana Dotson

Dotson won the 1992 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and played ten years for the Bucs and Packers. He averaged five sacks a season, and recorded ten his rookie year. He would have added solid depth behind Perry and McClockton.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
7 177 DB Sewlyn Jones ILB Corey Widmer

Widmer played eight years with the New York Giants. Along with McDaniel, Cox and Lewis, Widmer would have helped drastically remake an aging linebacker corps in two years.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
9 240 none C Jay Leeuwenburg

Leeuwenburg played nine seasons with five different teams during his career. He was the starting center for both the Bears and Colts before winding up his career with the Bengals and Redskins. He and Erik Williams (drafted in 1991) would have been the start of repairing a pourous offensive line.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
10 260 DT Marcus Lowe CB Mark McMillian

McMillian was a solid cornerback during his eight-year career. He led the league in INT return yards in 1997 with the Chiefs. He would have worked as a nice nickelback and backup corner behind Pro Bowlers Williams and Carter.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
11 289 WR Augustin Olobia G Kendall Gammon

Gammon played 15 years with the Steelers, Saints and Chiefs. He was an everything lineman, playing in multiple positions. He became most adept as long snapper, being named to the Pro Bowl in 2005 as a special teams player.

1992 Redraft Summary

Although not the class of 1991, the 1992 redraft class was still pretty good, especially after making some additional draft pick trades. Out of the needs mentioned earlier that needed to be addressed, we addressed all except Strong Safety and definitely built one of the best defenses in the league (at least on paper). We have revamped cornerbacks and linebackers, and a strong and deep defensive line after two drafts. We helped our receiving corps with Robert Brooks (and not dumping veterans Slaughter and Langhorne), and helped the offensive line with Leeuwenburg and Gammon.

After two drafts, we would have a lot of key pieces in place for a championship-contending team for a long time. Also, if Kosar struggled with the injuries that he did in 1992, Brett Favre would have had his chance to show that he was the quarterback to take them to the Super Bowl. If fact, considering the 1992 Browns flirted with a .500 record despite their lack of talent, this team would have had a great shot at the playoffs.

Next we’ll redo the 1993 draft. We’ll look to strengthen a still average offensive line (despite Erik Williams), find a strong safety, and continue to improve the running backs and receivers.

Cleveland Browns Redraft:1991

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

The start of the 2008 NFL season is a few weeks away, and I find myself in an unfamiliar place … high expectations for the Cleveland Browns. A few months ago, I began to reexamine the drafts of the “expansion” Browns, starting with the 1999 draft. But a couple of things motivated me to go back even further and reexamine the Browns drafts before the infamous move to Baltimore. They were:

The Browns were coming off a disastrous season (3-13, second worst record in the league), after five straight playoff appearances, four division titles during that stretch, and playing in three of the last four AFC Championship games (losing all three to Denver). Their quick collapse was due to a number of factors:

  • poor drafting under head coach Marty Schottenheimer (anyone remember Mike Junkin? Nope, didn’t think so.)
  • the team got old, especially along the offensive line, defensive backfield and linebackers
  • the trading of Ernest Byner, scapegoat for the 1988 playoff loss
  • the Plan B fiasco of 1989-1990, which led to a number of players leaving due to contract disputes

This led to head coach Bud Carson getting canned after only two years on the job, and opened the door for Bill Belichick, defensive genius of the New York Giants. Here’s where I step in as fantasy General Manager with hindsight as my ally. First off, I don’t hire Belichick. Not because he’s not a good coach, but because he was horrible with the local media, was at odds almost from the beginning from existing team leaders, and completely disenfranchised the Browns fan base. When you do things like that, you gain no grace when the team struggles. Instead, I hire another candidate who was in the running for the job as well, Bill Cowher. He played for the Browns and was an assistant coach under Marty when he was Cleveland’s head coach. He served as defensive coordinator in Kansas City under Marty as well. Also, with hindsight, look what he did with Cleveland’s biggest rivals, the Steelers. Not only would the Browns get a great head coach, but screw Pittsburgh as well.

My next move would be to pick up some extra draft picks in the draft, since there are some major holes to fill, and the 1991 draft class was one of the richest in history. The Browns had the following picks:

Round Number Player
1 2 FS Eric Turner
2 29 G Ed King
3 57 DT James Jones
4 85 DE Pio Sagapolutele
6 141 WR Michael Jackson
8 197 DT Frank Conover
9 225 CB Ray Irvin
9 239 Shawn Wiggins
10 252 P Brian Greenfield
11 280 G Todd Jones
12 308 Elijah Austin

Originally, not a bad draft at all. Eric Turner and Michael Jackson became stars for the Browns, Ed King was a starter, and James Jones and Pio Sagapolutele were good defenders. However, every pick after Jackson was a waste. We need a more productive draft to get the Browns back on track.

My first task would be to pick up some additional picks in rounds 2-5. First I work out a deal with the Dallas Cowboys, who were stuffed with picks due to the raping of the Vikings over the Hershel Walker trade. I would swap first round picks (my #2 pick for their #20 pick), and give up my 9th round (239) pick for the Cowboys’ 3rd round (62) and 4th round (110) picks. As much as I liked Turner, this team needs too much help, and there’s too much talent in the draft not to make this deal.

Next I would work out a deal with Minnesota. I would trade the 20th overall pick (acquired from Dallas) and my 6th round pick (141) and 9th round pick (225) for the Vikings’ 3rd (68) and 5th (119) round picks, and WR Cris Carter. (Carter was acquired via waivers the following season from Philadelphia and had a very unimpressive year in 1990.)

One last deal would be with San Francisco. I would trade my 4th (85), 5th (119) and 10th (252) round picks in exchange for the 49ers’ 4th (95) and two 5th round picks (122, 127). Our draft board now looks like this:

Round Number Player
2 29 G Ed King
3 57 DT James Jones
3 62 (via Dallas)
3 68 (via Minnesota)
4 95 (via San Francisco)
4 110 (via Dallas)
5 122 (via San Francisco)
5 127 (via San Francisco)
8 197 DT Frank Conover
11 280 G Todd Jones
12 308 Elijah Austin

We end up with the same number of draft picks that we started with (11), lose out on FS Eric Turner (Round 1) and WR Michael Jackson (Round 6) by giving up those picks, but losing nothing else of significance. In exchange we add two additional picks in the 3rd round, pick up and additional pick in the 4th, and pick up two picks in the 5th round, while we shed our two 9th round picks and 10th round pick. We also steal away a potential Hall-of-Famer in WR Cris Carter. Now let’s examine our new draft pick-by-pick:

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
2 29 G Ed King QB Brett Favre

Let me make two points before you read the rest of this. First, I’m a realistic Browns fan, willing to see the faults in the team and players, and also willing to see the team improve itself for the long term. Secondly, I liked Bernie Kosar. He had talent, he wanted to play for the Browns, and we’re both from the Youngstown area. With that said, Bernie was never going to take this team to the Super Bowl at this point. He was becoming injury-prone due to his lack of mobility and the bad offensive line he had in front of him. This would have been the perfect pick in getting his replacement. I’m not going to list all of Favre’s accomplishments and records to justify this pick, because I don’t need to.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
3 57 DT James Jones CB Aeneas Williams

The defenisve backfield was a mess in 1991. Starting Safety Felix Wright left after a contract dispute, Minnifield was getting old, and Blaylock and Hilliard weren’t much. Williams was an 8-time Pro Bowler for the Cardinals. Enough said.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
3 62 (from Dallas) OLB Mo Lewis

The linebackers was another area in trouble. Eddie Johnson retired, Clay Matthews was starting to run out of gas. David Grayson and Mike Johnson were good, but not great. Van Waiters, well, he was better than Mike Junkin, which isn’t saying much at all. Mo Lewis was a 3-time Pro Bowler.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
3 70 (from Minnesota) T Erik Williams

Originally taken by Dallas with this pick, Williams, a 4-time Pro Bowler, became the anchor for the offensive line for a Cowboys team that won three Super Bowls in the 1990s and saw Emmitt Smith become the league’s all-time leading rusher.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
4 95 (from San Francisco) OLB Bryan Cox

Bryan Cox made an immediate impact for the Dolphins, making the first of three Pro Bowl trips in his second year.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
4 110 (from Dallas) TE Ben Coates

It’s amazing that a team that drafted one of the best tight ends in history in Ozzie Newsome completely missed out on a quality tight end three years in a row. They drafted Scott Galbreath in 1990 over Shannon Sharpe. Coates could arguably be considered the next best tight end during the 1990s. Five Pro Bowl appearances will do that for you. He would be a necessary offensive weapon that struggled with an offensive identity since Lindy Infante left to coach the Packers in 1988.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
5 122 (from San Francisco) FS Merton Hanks

As noted above, the defensive backfield was a mess in 1991. Along with Williams, Hanks would have added a second future Pro Bowler (four times) in one draft.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
5 127 (from San Francisco) DE Michael Sinclair

The defensive line was one of the only strong points of the Cleveland team in 1991 with future Pro Bowlers Michael Dean Perry and Rob Burnett. Sinclair, a 3-time Pro Bowler, would have made this one of the best lines in the league.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
8 197 DT Frank Conover RB Gary Brown

The running game was also a major problem. Byner was continuing to play at a Pro Bowl level in Washington, Mack was getting beat up too much (and soon to get into legal trouble), and Metcalf was not a featured back. Brown, the only player in our redraft to never make the Pro Bowl, was a good running back for both Houston and the Giants. His two best years were 1993 (Houston) with 1,002 yards and six TDs, and 1998 (NY Giants) with 1,063 yards and five TDs.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
11 280 G Todd Jones WR Keenan McCardell

Originally drafted by Washington, McCardell spent four good, but unspectacular, years in Cleveland before becoming the 2-time Pro Bowler in Jacksonville. His presence becomes more important with not drafting Michael Jackson.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
12 308 Elijah Austin FB Kimble Anders

Another important piece to repair a broken running game. Originally undrafted, Anders was a 3-time Pro Bowler and a devistating blocker for the Chiefs.

1991 Redraft Summary

The 1991 redraft adds some important pieces to a team that is aging quickly. Only one of the 11 picks have at least two Pro Bowl appearances in the career. Favre (9), Aeneas Williams (8), Lewis (3), Erik Williams (4), Cox (3), Coates (5), Hanks (4), Sinclair (3), McCardell (2), and Anders (3) have a whopping 44 Pro Bowls combined. Add in the eight from Cris Carter and our Pro Bowl total climbs to 52. The defense would have quickly been rebuilt with five key players at CB, FS, DE and LB. The offense would be on its way back with a repaired running game with Brown and Anders, a major piece to the line with Williams, some receiving playmakers in Coates, Carter and McCardell, and the QB of the future in Favre.