There is a lot to like about second-year quarterback Colt McCoy, but remember that he was only a third-round pick in 2010 and spent his first offseason program and training camp getting third-team reps behind veterans Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace. Now the job is his since the Browns didn't target another signal caller in the draft, but no minicamp and no OTAs means McCoy isn't working out the kinks with receivers like Mohamed Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie and rookie Greg Little. The rest of the league will be gearing up for Madden cover boy Peyton Hillis in the backfield, so it'll be up to McCoy to make plays in the passing game when there are eight defenders in the box.
On the other side of the ball, Cleveland is switching from the 3-4 scheme back to a more traditional 4-3, which will be much harder to do if the lockout persists and, as a result, only one or two preseason games are played.
Jesus in Shoulder Pads -- you know him as Tim Tebow -- started the final three weeks of the 2010 campaign, and while he only produced a 1-2 record under center, he did put together a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 5-to-3 and a passer rating of 82.3. The former Heisman Trophy winner is never going to be a conventional quarterback, as his delivery is too loopy and he's too gifted of a runner, but he's a winner, a competitor and a leader, and sometimes traits like that can make up for an average arm and sloppy footwork. Nevertheless, the longer the lockout keeps Tebow away from the facility, the more likely a defensive-minded coach like John Fox will go the safe route and instead give the nod to Kyle Orton come Week 1.
It's possible the Broncos could have traded Orton before the draft last month and gotten a second- or third-round choice as compensation, which may have resulted in another young player to help the NFL's 32nd-ranked defense from a year ago.
For a team that needs to turn the page after the two-year rollercoaster ride known as the Brett Favre era, the lockout could not have come at a worse time for Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff. Yes, Christian Ponder was a reach at No. 12 overall in Round 1, but he's a perfect fit for the West Coast system new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave employs and may have eliminated the perceived need for an experienced QB had he made a good first impression throughout minicamp and OTAs. Ponder also needs to know who he's going to be throwing to downfield, so the will-he-stay-or-will-he-go drama surrounding potential free agent Sidney Rice isn't helping anyone associated with the Vikings, with the possible exception of Rice's agent.
Shockingly, Minnesota totally ignored its porous offensive line until selecting Arkansas' DeMarcus Love in Round 6, meaning free agency would be a welcome sight in order to sign reinforcements and make sure Ponder is protected.
The Eagles believe they are a Super Bowl team, and they certainly appear to be on the offensive side of the ball with Michael Vick reinventing himself at the game's most important position, LeSean McCoy developing into another Brian Westbrook and the duo of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin always ready to deliver a long-distance lightning strike. On the other hand, defensively this club had big-time problems in the secondary aside from Asante Samuel, hence the addition of safety Jaiquawn Jarrett in Round 2 and cornerback Curtis Marsh in Round 3. Not to mention the fact that coach Andy Reid's new defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo, was his offensive line coach the last 13 years.
Plus, the current asking price for quarterback Kevin Kolb is thought to be second-round picks in 2012 and 2013, but he would have been dealt already if there was no lockout -- any deal would have fetched some help for now, not just help for later.
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San Francisco 49ers
New coach Jim Harbaugh is being asked to change the culture in San Francisco, where the tenure of ex-coach Mike Singletary was a curious one to say the least. Harbaugh thinks he has his quarterback of the future in second rounder Colin Kaepernick, although there isn't a talent evaluator out there that believes the former Nevada Wolfpack is ready to be a starter as a rookie. The current state of the collective bargaining agreement only slows Kaepernick's development that much more, and he also has no idea who he's going to learn from since permanent backup David Carr is the only QB under contract right now.
While Harbaugh seems to be taking the necessary steps to keep Alex Smith around for one more run, going so far as the bring his wife flowers in the hospital recently after the birth of the couple's first child, the one-time No. 1 pick remains in limbo.
|John Crist is an NFL analyst for Scout com, a voter for the Heisman Trophy and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America.|