Matt Waldman’s Second RSP Writers Squad

An RSP Writers Team with Russell Wilson as the starting quarterback? You knew it was coming from me, didn’t you? Funny I had the belief to praise him and project him as a future starter, but was less confident about making him my guy until the preseason. Explanation below. Photo by Seth Youngblood.

This was actually my first squad, but admittedly I was a little uncomfortable going with so many first and second-year players as starters in my offense. As the summer played out, I see that perhaps my first inclination has as much or more promise as the team I published last month. The only changes I made to this squad since July were at guard and the defense. The offense is pretty much as I built it. I’ll call this my Rookie Scouting Portfolio Writers Team and the other team my Footballguys/Football Outisders squad. I have mad love for all three places, but couldn’t fill just one squad.

There are more RSP Writers Teams in the can that I’ll post as the season gets under way. You can go here for a complete look at the project, including the spreadsheet and rules so you can play at home. I can’t promise I’ll look or even publish all submissions, but feel free to send your team my way if you want – I’ve also posted a few reader’s teams and many rival the writer’s squads.


So glad Wilson wasn’t “Charlie Warded” out of the NFL. Although the baseball uni suits him almost as good as an NBA uni suited Ward, neither had any business being put in a position to make that choice and truly call it “a choice.” Photo by Seth Youngblood.
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and/or fit within the system)
QB2 Russell Wilson 9 Wilson is my heir-apparent by a narrow margin over Ryan Tannehill. What tipped the scales to Wilson is that I saw Wilson make more improvisational plays that worked and I liked that his aggressive nature was tempered with better accuracy in tighter windows than what I saw from Tannehill. To be fair, Tannehill did not have the receiver play to match his skills and if you ask me tomorrow, I’d opt for Tannehill. I also think Wilson has that assassin mentality that the best quarterbacks in the league possess. It’s an intangible thing, but I love it. I also intend to run an offense that will be multiple and no-huddle. I think Wilson has demonstrated the kind of quick-thinking I want from a quarterback. I also think he’ll benefit from Matt Hasselbeck’s willing tutelage.
QB1 Matt Hasselbeck 5.5 Hasselbeck is like a better football-playing version of the character “Crash” Davis in the movie “Bull Durham.” The veteran has been around the block, won big playoff games, appeared in a Super Bowl, and demonstrates the offensive knowledge and maturity that I think will help Russell Wilson suceed. Better yet, he can take Nate Davis, my other super-talented, young quarterback on this roster, and give him one last slap of reality that might help revive his career. Best of all, Hasselbeck has excellent anticipation as a deep thrower. His arm isn’t top-notch, but Randy Moss wins with quarterbacks that show anticipation and this will be a good match for at least a year, if not two. I also like that his ability to get rid of the ball quickly will temper defenses trying to pressure him.
QB3 Nate Davis 0.5 Skills alone, Davis is the best quarterback on this roster and more talented than every quarterback under $12 in this exercise. The problem is that his head and attitude have been such a negative that he’s not even in the league. He’s not even playing to the level he should in the Arena League. The story goes that the Colts Bill Polian brought Davis into camp in 2011 to give him a shot to win the starting role with Manning out for the year and hope he could be the team’s heir to the throne. Polian reportedly thought he was a high first-round talent in terms of ability. Davis arrived out of shape and not in the frame of mind to work and was booted quickly. I’ll take my chances on a $0.5 investment in a guy with the knack and physical skill to be a franchise quarterback if he can mature. If he does, I think I have a player that will be a good fit for my free-wheeling offense designed to mix the best of sandlot football and high-caliber accuracy.
QB3 Chandler Harnish 1 Harnish is mobile, strong-armed, and tough. I like that he’ll stand in the pocket to make the throw and also play hurt. I think between Davis and Harnish I have two players with strong potential as backups, but almost as good potential as future trade bait.
Running Back Depth Chart

My RB depth chart will be an open competition among unsung guys will skills. Bryce Brown has the most physical talent, but he’s the least experienced in pass protection. He better come to 2012 camp hungry. Photo by Wade Rackley.
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and fit within the system)
RB1 Bilal Powell 2 I think Powell has lead back skill and potentially 3-4 years of feature back potential. He runs with good balance and power, but he also has burst and a that first or second move to make a defender miss in tight spaces. He’s also a strong pass protector and solid outlet receiver. If Bryce Brown doesn’t develop fast, I’m happy with Powell and Rainey as my rotation.
RB2 Bryce Brown 2.5 Brown is a risk because of his checkered (non) playing history in the college ranks, but I’ve seen enough of him at Tennessee and heard enough about his Pro Day to believe that he has franchise back skill. Size, speed, burst, strong inside vision, and terrific hands are hallmarks of his game. I think I have a potential steal and a player capable of 15-18 touches a game as a rookie. Pass protection is my only concern with him. If he develops, he’ll be a dangerous check-down option as well as a runner capable of closing out games.
RB3 Bobby Rainey 1.5 Rainey knows how to run inside and he’s a good receiver. He has long reminded me stylistically of Ray Rice and I think he’ll press for playing time. There is an open competition at this spot. While I anticipate Powell to win, Rainey and Brown will be in the mix and I won’t be afraid to use them if they play as I expect.
Wide Receiver Depth Chart

I love this guy and I want to use him like Percy Harvin and Wes Welker wrapped up in an electric package. Photo by Elvis Kennedy
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and fit within the system)
WR2 WR Juron Criner 3.5 I wanted Greg Childs here, but once he got hurt Criner was an easy second choice and might prove to be the better decision. I love Criner’s hands and his skill after the catch. He’s a strong wide receiver with good balance and a some solid open field moves. He’s a lot like Michael Crabtree and Cris Carter in style and he provides that big-receiver, Marques Colston (another good stylistic comparison) presence to my young Drew Brees. My biggest issue with my receivers is where I’m going to play each. Eventually I want to move them around, but I want them to get familiar with with position and branch out as time passes.
WR3 Returner Randall Cobb 6.5 Cobb is my cheaper version of Percy Harvin with not much dropoff. I think Cobb can play any of the receiver spots because of his physicality, athleticism, and intelligence. I can also use him in the backfield if my offensive coordinator wants to experiment with some QB/RB/WR hybrid stuff that Cobb can provide with his versatility. I don’t anticipate using too many gimmicks, but it’s nice to have that luxury if the offense starts clicking (or not). Most of all, Cobb will be a big-play threat anywhere on the field.
WR4 Returner Titus Young 4 Young will learn all three receiver spots in this offense, but he’ll begin his career here as the slot receiver. I’ll use him on a combination of screens, running plays, crosses, and verticals. His open field skill and willingness to catch the ball in traffic will place a ton of pressure on the best nickel corners and when I send James Casey down field with Young in the same zone, I’m going to give defenses fits.
WR1 WR Steve Smith (Stl) 3 Smith is a great possession receiver who will be where Wilson needs him to be and make plays against physical defenders. He’s also fast enough to get deep on play action passes. The fact that Wilson is so good at the bootleg will make Smith a viable vertical receiver in a way where Eli Manning always struggled. He’ll also provide strong tutelage on route running for the four young receivers. I’m thrilled with this receiving corps.
WR5 WR Rod Streater 0.5 I liked Streater’s speed and skill at adjusting to the football when I saw him at Temple. I believe he has potential to contribute in a starting rotation as an outside receiver in four-receiver and empty sets. Give him a limited route tree of outs, fades, and comebacks and I think he can make some plays as he grows into his own.
Fullback and Tight End Depth Chart

Allen is going to be a godsend in the run game and pass protection. Bilal Powell and James Casey are good enough in this short range as receivers and pass blockers that the rookie H-back/TE will get his shot at targets as well. Have fun linebackers. Photo by PDA Photo.
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and fit within the system)
FB H-Back James Casey 2.5 Casey isn’t as fluid as Aaron Hernandez (no one is), but he’s closer that most players that others are comparing to the Patriots tight end. I think Casey could be an elite, hybrid weapon and I will allow Matt Hasselbeck (and eventually Russell Wilson) get Casey into spots where he can earn mismatches and generate first downs and big plays as a receiver. He’s going to give my offense tremendous flexibility.
TE1 Dwayne Allen 3.5 Ben Muth says Craig Stevens is the best blocking tight end in the NFL and I was tempted to take him for that reason. However, I think Dwayne Allen has the potential to become one of the better run and pass blockers at the position and I like his athleticism as a receiver and ball carrier a lot more. Allen can play H-back and I’ll likely move him around to use his versatility to help pass protect, provide an outlet, or go down field. Powell, Allen, and Casey provide a lot of versatility for linebackers and safeties to worry about.
TE2 Taylor Thompson 1.5 Thompson is a swing for the fences pick. The former defensive end at SMU was so good at his old high school position of tight end at the Shrine Game that he became a true NFL prospect at the position. Tall, fluid, and reportedly has natural hands, Thompson looks like a player with the potential to develop into a Rob Gronkowski-style of player. If he can learn to block with his size and athleticism, I might have a future top-shelf, all-around tight end. And I know that Matt Hasselbeck and Russell Wilson are tight end-friendly passers.
FB FB Tony Fiammetta 0.5 Fiammetta has excellent skill as a lead blocker. He’s been hurt, but in my system I only expect to use him as a situational player as long as Casey and Allen stay healthy.
TE2 Will Yeatman 0.5 Yeatman can block and make plays in the short range of the field. He’s a more athletic, but less refined player in the mold of Jeff King.
Tackle Depth Chart
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and fit within the system)
RT1 Cordy Glenn 5 The Bills GM Buddy Nix compares Glenn to a young Marcus McNeill in terms of ability. Nix drafted McNeill in San Diego, so he should know.
LT1 Trent Williams 7.5 Williams has become a strong blindside tackle and I’m hopeful he’s turned the corner towards becoming a dominant force.
Lydon Murtha 1 Capable depth.
Guard Depth Chart
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and fit within the system)
LG1 Andy Levitre 9 Levitre is the reason I feel okay about Glenn or Brown as my left tackle. He’s an elite pass protector and will do a lot to help that side of the line. Combine Levitre with a player like tight end Dwayne Allen to the left side and I think I’ll have solid performances that hide the weaknesses of Levitre when it comes to run or pass.
RG1 Peter Konz 3.5 Konz was a center at Wisconsin but I think he’ll develop into a good NFL guard.
RG2 Trai Essex 1 Muth says it well about Essex: big, strong, young, and capable if called upon. Also versatile enough to be a swing tackle and I’ll use him as depth there, too.
Center Depth Chart
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and fit within the system)
Doug Legursky 1
Chris Spencer 1


“They love you, Revis.” Photo by Marianne O’Leary.
Cornerback and Safety Depth Chart
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and/or fit within the system)
FS1  Earl Thomas 6 Thomas is a great center fielder and in these defense he’ll have a chance to make a lot of plays.
RCB1  Darrelle Revis 12 The best cover corner in the game and he provides me flexibility to develop younger, athletic players and use LaRon Landry in a hybrid role ala Troy Polamalu.
RCB2 Nickel CB  Brice McCain 1 McCain will have competition from either Wilson, Cook, or Boykin for the slot job, but I expect one of these guys to function as an outside CB and the other two to work as return specialists and reserve corners until they develop.
SS1  LaRon Landry 4.5 I had Eric Berry, but Landry was a better deal. The injury issues are a concern but I love his range, skill at hitting, and blitzing the quarterback. I think his fit with he Jets is excellent and if he stays healthy, he’ll make quarterbacks get the night sweats.
LCB1  Kyle Wilson 0.5 Wilson is the likely nickel back on this squad, but I also want to groom to him to play outside. He’s also a potential return specialist for this squad.
RCB2 Returner Brandon Boykin 4.5 Boykin is the future guy to play outside. I like his athleticism and physical style of play but I know he’ll need help early on. Probably will see situational time and return kicks for immediate impact.
SS2  Craig Steltz 0.5 I hope I don’t need to use him in the secondary, but I think my corners are strong enough that he’ll do a workman like job. He’s mainly a special teams guy.
LCB2  Chris Cook 0.5 Cook has the skills to develop, but he’s my Nate Davis of the defense.
FS2  Dwight Lowery 0.5 Corner or safety, the versatility makes him a bit of a bargain in a strong defensive backfield.
SS2  Tyler Sash 0.5 Sash is a tough kid with strong special teams skill, but not a safety I want to see in my lineup.
RCB2  Chimdi Chekwa 0.5 Good speed, but developing slowly. If he finally catches on, I have a bargain.
Linebacker Depth Chart

Derrick Johnson is the linebacker I wanted on the team I published last month. He really came into his own last year. Photo by G.R. Allen.
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and fit within the system)
MLB1  Derrick O. Johnson 8.5 Johnson is becoming the player many expected. He’s a fine MLB and I don’t expect teams to get to both Dansby and Johnson if my line has the occasional failure.
WLB1  Karlos Dansby 6.5 Dansby will be my WILL. Athletic, good in coverage, and versatile to play MLB or SLB if needed. I like that I can blitz him, too.
SLB1  Will Witherspoon 3 A wily veteran capable of doing good things in this corps. Still a solid athlete with versatility.
SLB1 Vontaze Burfict 1 Potential middle linebacker with upside if he shows he cares about the game and willing to work at it. He’ll compete with Witherspoon and Morrison for SLB reps.
SLB2  Greg Jones 0.5 Strong side guy with good special teams skill.
MLB2  Kirk Morrison 0.5 He can play the middle if pressed into service and really all three positions, but he’ll be my reserve strong side guy.
SLB2  Gerald McRath 0.5 Good special teams player with excellent skills against the run and budding skills in pass coverage. Used as a nickel backer. Good depth.
SLB2 Situational Pass Rusher Tahir Whitehead 0.5 My linebackers coach Gunther Cunningham says Whitehead is a much better player than he expected. The sack artist at Temple could surprise. I might even try him as a pass-rushing end in some situations. I’ll let him play special teams and learn the linebacker position for a year or two.
Defensive End and Tackle Depth Chart

I’m just going to keep calling Brandon Graham “Bust” while he starts making plays. Photo by Scott Stuart.
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and fit within the system)
DT1 Starting RDT  Geno Atkins 9.5 Atkins is among the best in the game and he knows Mike Zimmer’s defense.
RDE2 Situational DE  Willie Young 1.5 Young and Phillip Hunt are speedy off the edge, can play special teams, and rotate with Robison and Graham to create havoc on passing downs.
RDE1 Starting RDE  Brian Robison 3 I think Robison is just coming into his own as a player capable of pressuring the quarterback from the right side of the line, but smart enough to make plays in the run game. He’s a better athlete than some realize and I think I have a keeper for a good 3-5 seasons.
DT2 Starting LDT  Peria Jerry 0.5 Jerry will compete with Liuget for the starting job next to Atkins.
LDE1 Starting LDE  Brandon Graham 2.5 Graham has the potential to be a Pro Bowl player and I think he’s finally healthy enough to do it. At the very least, I think he’ll be a productive starter with excellent athleticism to penetrate in the run game and work off the edge as a pass rusher.
LDE2 Backup DE  Phillip Hunt 1 Hunt has the potential to become a pass rushing terror. The CFL star was impressive for the Eagles last year. He’s relentless off the edge and I think he and Willie Young will push each other for time.
DT3 Backup DT  Corey Liuget 0.5 Versatile DE/DT who I can use in situational capacity versus the run and pass.
Final Special Teams Roster
Kicker and Punter Depth Chart
Starters Name Value Commentary (Why did you choose the player for special teams and what Role (optional) will he play?)
K1 Greg Zuerlein 1.5 Big leg, young, and capable of being my mainstay at the position for years to come.
P1 Ben Graham 1
Kick Coverage Team
Name Commentary (Why did you choose the player for special teams and what Role (optional) will he play?)
Chris Cook
Will Yeatman
Greg Jones
Phillip Hunt
Tahir Whitehead
Gerald McGrath
Kirk Morrison
Chmdi Chekwa
Tyler Sash
Kyle Wilson
Brandon Boykin Cobb, Young, Rainey, and Wilson all could return kicks as well. I may look at three of these four.
Punt Coverage Team
Name Commentary (Why did you choose the player for special teams and what Role (optional) will he play?)
Peter Konz We’ll try him and/or Will Yeatman at long snapper
Will Yeatman
Willie Young Young and Whitehead can penetrate and run down field. Good special teams skills.
Tahir Whitehead
Gerald McGrath
Kirk Morrison
Greg Jones
Chimdi Chekwa
Tyler Sash
Dwight Lowery
Bobby Rainey Might consider another player, but depending on his development at RB I’ll use him as a return specialist for the time being.

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