A couple of months I ran down the Big Blue Blueprint of the NBA Wildcats right before the NBA Draft. That landscape has changed a bit already and is due to be revamped, but it’s football season now. And there are almost as many former Kentucky Wildcats in the NFL as there are in the NBA, so it is time to look at the NFL landscape as 19 former Wildcats are sweating it out in camp.
Former Wildcat Ronnie Sneed had sisgned a three year contract with Detroit but he was waived on Saturday due to an injury. It appears his time is Detroit is over as he received an injury settlement from the Lions on Tuesday. It’s a tough break for Sneed, but lets look at where the other former Wildcats are:
ALFONSO SMITH – RB
RICKY LUMPKIN – DT
Both former Wildcats seem to have a good shot at making the Cardinals 53 man roster as both are under contract for the 2012 season. Granted, it s a minimum $465,000 deal but it is a “reserve” contracts for the season. Lumpkin has yet to appear in a regular season NFL game, but Alfonso Lumpkin appeared in 15 games. He carried the ball 30 times for 102 yards and scored a touchdown. He also caught 3 passes for 21 yards. As of now, he is listed third on the Cardinals depth chart behind Ryan Williams. Williams did miss the preseason opener for the Cardinals with a sore knee and Smith has proven to be a servicable backup. In week two of last year, he carried the ball 17 times for 54 yards and caught his three receptions.
Lumpkin is listed third at nose tackle in the 3-4 defense for the Cardinals and looks like he will be hardpressed to get any significant playing time.
COREY PETERS – DT
Peters is solid in Atlanta and is the starting DT for the Falcons. Last year, Peters had 26 tackles and 3 sacks and an interception. Peters is something of a bargain for Atlanta and has two years remaining on his contract and will make $681,750 this year. Peters is currently recovering from a foot injury he sustained in the off season and may miss another week or two of camp. He should take the field in week one.
STEVIE JOHNSON – WR
Expect to see Stevie getting loose in Buffalo for a few more years. Johnson caught 76 passes for 1004 yards and 7 TD last year which was his second straight 1000 yard season. Johnson is far and away the best target for ryan Fitzpatrick this year. Stevie is getting paid as well as he is under contract through the 2016 season and is currently in a 5 year/#36,250,000 contract. Stevie is one of the few Wildcats that is a must for your fantasy football team. As of now, he is nursing a sore groin, but is not expected to miss much time in camp.
GARRY WILLIAMS – OT
After working his way into the starting lineup for the Panthers in 2010, Williams missed all of last season with a broken ankle suffered in the last preseason game. Williams is under contract for two more seasons and will make $783,333 this year. Williams will compete in camp for a starting spot but it appears that Byron Bell will get the nod. Regardless, Williams will get his chance to protect Cam Newton this year.
DEQUIN EVANS – DE
MICAH JOHNSON – LB
Both players appear to have a fighting shot at the 53 man roster for the Bengals but there are no guarantees. Both have signed a minimum contract (Johnson for $465K, Evans for $390K) and both are buried on the depth charts. Johnson is listed third for the Left DE spot and Evans third for the Right DE spot. Of the pair, only Johnson has seen any actual NFL action. Micah played in one game and had one tackle for the Dolphins in 2010.
JACOB TAMME – TE
WESLEY WOODYARD – LB
DANNY TREVATHAN – LB
Now that Tim Tebow is no longer a Bronco, it is OK to root for the Broncos now. Jacob Tamme is reunited with Peyton Manning in Denver and the two showed nice chemistry in 2010 when Tamme finally got some playing time and caught 67 passes for 631 yards and 4 TD’s. Tamme has a three year deal with Denver and will make 1,500,000 this year. You have to think he has a good chance to fight for a starting slot with Joel Dreessen and may have the upper hand due to his time with Manning. Regardless, both Tammee and Dreessen are playing with the first team and word is the Broncos will emply two TE sets ala New England. I would take a chance on Tamme as my fantasy TE.
Due to the suspension of DJ Williams, Woodyard should get the starting nod for at least the first six games of they year. Woodyard was very productive laswt year when Williams was injured and had 97 tackles and had four double digit tackle games. The fans love Woodyard who has become a team leader with 233 tackles in his four seasons there. Wesley has two years left on a contract that will pay him $1,500,000 this year.
The Broncos signed Danny Trevathan to a 4 year, $2,204,072 deal and hope he can follow in Woodyards contract. Expect some playing time for Danny early in the season at least due to the suspension of DJ Williams. Travathan could actually back up Woodyard at weakside LB.