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Wolf's Big Board:     Monday, May 29, 2017     Tier One - The Big Three   1 ) David Johnson (ARI) RB1   2 ) Le'Veon Bell (PIT) RB2   3 ) Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) RB3   Tier Two - High-end WR1 and RB1s   4 ) Antonio Brown (PIT) WR1   5 ) Julio Jones (ATL) WR2   6 ) Mike Evans (TB) WR3   7 ) Odell Beckham JR. (NYG) WR4   8 ) DeMarco Murray (TEN) RB4   9 ) Melvin Gordon (LAC) RB5   10 ) LeSean McCoy (BUF) RB6   11 ) Jay Ajayi (MIA) RB7   12 ) AJ Green (CIN) WR5   13 ) Jordy Nelson (GB) WR6   14 ) Michael Thomas (NO) WR7   15 ) Dez Bryant (DAL) WR8   16 ) Devonta Freeman (ATL) RB8   Tier 3 - Lower-end RB1 and WR1s, elite second options   17 ) Lamar Miller (HOU) RB9   18 ) DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) WR9   19 ) TY Hilton (IND) WR10   20 ) Leonard Fournette (JAX) RB10   21 ) Rob Gronkowski (NE) TE1   22 ) Brandin Cooks (NE) WR11   23 ) Demaryius Thomas. (DEN) WR12   24 ) Jordan Reed (WAS) TE2   25 ) Doug Baldwin (SEA) WR13   26 ) Amari Cooper (OAK) WR14   Tier 3.5   27 ) Todd Gurley (LAR) RB11   28 ) Carlos Hyde (SF) RB12   29 ) Christian McCaffrey (CAR) RB13   30 ) Jordan Howard (CHI) RB14   31 ) Marshawn Lynch (OAK) RB15   32 ) Davante Adams (GB) WR15   33 ) Alshon Jeffery (PHI) WR16   34 ) Isaiah Crowell (CLE) RB16   35 ) Tyreek Hill (KC) WR17   36 ) Keenan Allen (LAC) WR18   37 ) Spencer Ware (KC) RB17   Tier 4 - Elite QBs, Solid #2 RBs + WRs, side TE1s   38 ) Bilal Powell (NYJ) RB18   39 ) Tom Brady (NE) QB1   40 ) Sammy Watkins WR19   41 ) Aaron Rodgers (GB) QB2   42 ) Travis Kielce (KC) TE3   43 ) Terrelle Pryor (WAS) WR20   44 ) Allen Robinson (JAC) WR21   44 ) Mike Gillislee (NE) RB19   45 ) Mark Ingram (NO) RB20   46 ) Golden Tate (DET) WR22   47 ) Jamison Crowder (WAS) WR23   48 ) Greg Olsen (CAR) TE4   48 ) Tevin Coleman (ATL) RB21   49 ) Willie Snead (NO) WR24   50 ) Doug Martin (TB) RB22   51 ) Michael Crabtree (OAK) WR25   52 ) Brandon Marshal (NYG) WR26   53 ) Julian Edelman (NE) WR27   54 ) Donte Moncrief (IND) WR28   55 ) Drew Brees (NO) QB3   56 ) Ameer Abdullah (DET) RB23   57 ) Jimmy Graham (SEA) TE5   58 ) Tyler Eifert (CIN) TE6   59 ) Martavis Bryant (PIT) WR29   Tier 5 - Last Startable WRs and RBs + TE1 Candidates   60 ) Pierre Garcon (SF) WR30   61 ) Eric Decker (NYJ) WR31   62 ) Jarvis Landry (MIA) WR32   63 ) Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) WR33   64 ) Samaje Perine (WAS) RB24   65 ) Joe Mixon (CIN) RB25   66 ) CJ Anderson (DEN) RB26   67 ) Matt Ryan (ATL) QB4   68 ) Stefon Diggs (MIN) WR33   69 ) Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) WR34   70 ) Ty Montgomery (GB) RB27   71 ) Hunter Henry (LAC) TE7   72 ) Corey Davis (TEN) WR35   73 ) Adrian Peterson (NO) RB28   74 ) Kelvin Benjamin (CAR) WR36   75 ) Delanie Walker TE8   76 ) Paul Perkins (NYG) RB29   77 ) CJ Prosise (SEA) RB30   78 ) Eddie Lacy (SEA) RB31   79 ) Dalvin Cook (MIN) RB32   80 ) Theo Riddick (DET) RB33   81 ) Frank Gore (IND) RB34   82 ) Cameron Meredith (CHI) WR38   83 ) Mike Wallace (BAL) WR39   84 ) DeSean Jackson (TB) WR40   85 ) Martellus Bennett (GB) TE9   TIer 7 - side QB1s and Top WR and RB Lottery Tickets   86 ) Andrew Luck (IND) QB5   87 ) Derek Carr (OAK) QB6   88 ) Kirk Cousins (WAS) QB7   89 ) Marcus Mariota (TEN) QB8   90 ) Philip Rivers (LAC) QB9   91 ) Ben Roethlisberger QB10   92 ) Dak Prescott (DAL) QB11   93 ) Jameis Winston (TB) QB12   94 ) Joe Williams (SF) RB35   95 ) Derrick Henry (TEN) RB36   96 ) Kareem Hunt (KC) RB37   97 ) Jamaal Williams (GB) RB38   98 ) Davante Parker (MIA) WR41   99 ) Josh Doctson (WAS) WR42   100 ) Ted Ginn (NO) WR43  
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Dont’a Hightower Re-Signs With The Patriots

I’m writing this just as the news is coming out, so just give me a second to digest, if you will.


Ok, back to Earth. What a monumentally giant signing here. As great as this offseason so far has been for the defending Super Bowl champions, there’s been plenty of talk about what they’ve done wrong — particularly, letting Martellus Bennett walk without much of a fight and the potential mishandling of  Malcolm Butler. Realistically, the odds of Bennett staying for what the Patriots were able to offer him were on par with the Jets’ Super Bowl 51 odds, so that one was pretty easy to stomach — especially after acquiring Dwayne Allen and repeatedly getting good news about the health of Rob Gronkowski. And although I don’t fully agree with how things are playing out with Butler, the game’s a business, and Bill Belichick is making the decisions that he believes are best for the franchise. Maybe he stays, maybe he doesn’t – either way, the Patriots will employ a Pro Bowl CB in Stephon Gilmore next season, and things will work out. But being able to lock down Dont’a Hightower, the quarterback of the defense and one of the many heroes of New England’s Super Bowl 51 comeback, is absolutely, unequivocally the most important move the Patriots have made this offseason.

There’s a reason Dont’a Hightower plays with the green dot on his helmet, and there’s a reason that no true Patriots fan would’ve been fully content with this offseason if he ended up in another uniform in 2017 — he’s a BEAST. Hightower is coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons in which he’s averaged 63 tackles and 3 sacks, as well as a 14-tackle postseason in which he also forced the most important fumble in Patriots history — with about 8:30 remaining in a 28-12 game in the Super Bowl. His numbers on paper have dropped a bit in the past couple seasons, but that can be attributed to a number of things — growth of other key players on New England’s defense, increased responsibility in play-calling, and a smarter, less risky style of play, just to name a few. Numbers may never lie, but they often don’t tell the whole truth especially regarding defensive players, and Hightower is the most important member of the Patriots defense, period.

So now that our month-long heart attack is officially over and #54 will be at the helm of New England’s defense once again, there are certainly still issues to be addressed. Three come mind: Butler, Jimmy Garoppolo, and the newfound lack of early draft picks. Problem No. 3 will likely go hand-in-hand with No. 2, as a Jimmy G trade will undoubtedly net New England at least a 1st round pick (@Browns, hmu, that #12 pick is lookin’ good), but the Malcolm Butler situation remains to be the biggest question mark for Bill’s Boys moving forward. Whether he comes back to finish out his deal, is able to work out one more suitable, or heads to New Orleans or elsewhere, #InBillWeTrust will be in full swing in New England, and I’m supremely confident that the right decision will be made.

The stress is over. Bill got his man. Now let’s get to work.

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