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Coffee & Cigarettes: Educational links for Tuesday

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While I'm away from the blog for a couple of weeks, I've set up some posts that point you in the direction of some interesting or educational links about football. Today's expert analysis comes from Russ Lande, a former NFL Scout and now writer for a number of publications. He is the college scouting director for the CFL's Montreal Alouettes.

A look at how we'd run each NFL franchise. | : Mike Tanier, Dan Pompei and Russ Lande Article
Monday morning quarterbacking is one thing. Monday morning general managing? Well, that takes a little more thought.

Five quarterback prospects that could surprise. | : Russ Lande Article
As always, the primary focus at the top of the NFL draft is on the quarterbacks that are likely to be first round draft picks. The past has taught us quality passers can often be found in the later rounds of the draft and even as undrafted free agents. Here are five quarterbacks that will likely be third day draft picks, but have shown us enough to think they have a chance to become quality starting quarterbacks in the NFL.

All eyes were on Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans at Aggie pro day. | : Russ Lande Article
As expected, Texas A&M's pro day -- otherwise known as the Johnny Manziel & Mike Evans Show -- was a circus. Not only were there more NFL front office personnel than an owners' meeting, but there were lots of random curious bystanders in attendance as well. At one point, I had to make way for a cart carrying former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara. Small details became comically big news, as the buzz grew early on that Manziel would be going through the workout in his helmet and shoulder pads. A few minutes after hearing that, it was confirmed, setting off more excitement.

AJ McCarron headed for backup duty in the NFL. | : Russ Lande Article
While Johnny Manziel is the most debated and polarizing prospect in the 2014 NFL draft, saying that opinions on AJ McCarron are unified would be way off. I've consulted numerous NFL sources and some view him as the best SEC quarterback this year, while others say he lacks frontline talent and is not worthy of being drafted until the late rounds. The answer lies somewhere in the middle, and my goal is to explain why opinions are split and what the future holds for McCarron.

These players stood out at Senior Bowl practices. | : Russ Lande Article
Although the Senior Bowl will not be played until Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Central Time, nearly all NFL personnel have left Mobile, because the practices carry much more weight than the game. It's important to remember that many players, such as offensive tackle Chris Williams, receiver Andre Caldwell and cornerback Alphonso Smith, have shined in Mobile and struggled in the NFL. On the other hand, prospects such as cornerback Richard Sherman, running back Chris Johnson and quarterback Russell Wilson did not have great weeks of practice in Mobile but are now top-flight NFL players. With that said, I held a staff meeting to determine which prospects had the best weeks of practice, and below is our top 10 (listed in alphabetical order).

These eight players disappointed during Senior Bowl week. | : Russ Lande Article
Senior Bowl practices are complete, so the only thing left is to watch the game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. central time. It is important not to place too much weight on a player's performances this week as many have struggled or shined at the Senior Bowl and then performed drastically differently when they played in the NFL. With that said, below is a breakdown of eight players that had the most problems during the week of practice in Mobile (listed in alphabetical order).

These players shone at past East-West Shrine Games. | : Russ Lande Article
On Saturday, some future NFL players will be participating in the annual East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla., and more people should be paying close attention this week -- some of these prospects might just be the surprise picks in this year's NFL draft. As I packed my bags for my annual trip to the Shrine Game, it occurred to me how many good NFL starters I had seen there over the years, so below is a look at some recent alums of the Shrine Game who have developed into quality NFL starters. This list does not even include players such as Jacoby Jones, who have made an impact in the NFL but have struggled to become consistent starters (players are listed in alphabetical order).

Jay Gruden inherits something of a mess in DC. | : Russ Lande Article
Most teams will only have four problems solved in the G.M. for a Day series, but the Redskins are overachievers in the problem department. The Redskins have whole units to upgrade and limited cap space and draft picks to do it with, plus a franchise quarterback who spent a month in Mike Shanahan's gulag and must be reintegrated into society. So let's solve five Redskins problems instead of four. We may have to spend a lot of Dan Snyder's money to do the job, but that won't take much arm-twisting.

The St. Louis Rams need to build around Sam Bradford. | : Russ Lande Article
The Rams have a lot of problems, and Sam Bradford is not one of them.

Bill O'Brien has his work cut out for him in Houston. | : Russ Lande Article
Starting today, Sports on Earth's NFL writers will be providing an offseason assessment of all 32 NFL teams -- identifying the most important problems facing every franchise, and proposing solutions for each. Our series kicks off with the Houston Texans.