AFC East: Ryan Mathews

C.J. Spiller starts fourth on Rookie Watch

September, 9, 2010
Each week, Scouts Inc. analyst Matt Williamson will present Rookie Watch, a power ranking of the NFL's best newcomers.

His introductory list is headlined by San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews.

Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller is ranked fourth, with a pair of Detroit Lions --d efensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and running back Jahvid Best -- in between.

Williamson's take on Spiller in Sunday's opener against the Miami Dolphins:
Even in his first regular-season game as a pro, Spiller is going to have to carry the offense. He'll be the player Miami keys on. Not to take anything away from Lee Evans, but someone has to get Evans the ball -- and therein lies the problem. Spiller is already the most dangerous player on this team.

No other AFC East player appears on the first Rookie Watch, but New England Patriots tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are on the cusp.

My pick: Colts over Packers in Super Bowl

September, 2, 2010
As part of's annual NFL season preview package, I was one of 16 writers and analysts asked to contribute predictions for this year's division champs, wild-card teams, Super Bowl and individual awards.

I've broken out my picks here. Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

AFC East: New York Jets

AFC North: Cincinnati Bengals

AFC South: Indianapolis Colts

AFC West: San Diego Chargers

AFC wild cards: New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens

NFC East champ: Dallas Cowboys

NFC North: Green Bay Packers

NFC South: New Orleans Saints

NFC West: San Francisco 49ers

NFC wild cards: Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants

AFC champion: Indianapolis Colts

NFC champion: Green Bay Packers

Super Bowl champ: Indianapolis Colts

Coach of the year: Mike McCarthy, Packers

MVP: Peyton Manning, Colts

Offensive player of the year: Peyton Manning, Colts

Defensive player of the year: Darrelle Revis, Jets

Offensive ROY: Ryan Mathews, Chargers

Defensive ROY: Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions

C.J. Spiller revved up for rookie season

July, 3, 2010
Buffalo Bills rookie running back C.J. Spiller made an "NFL Live" appearance Friday via satellite from Daytona, Fla., where he was grand marshal of the Subway Jalapeno 250 on the Nationwide NASCAR series.

He was the guy who belted: "Gentlemen, start your engines."

After the interview, studio analyst Darren Woodson professed his eagerness to see Spiller turn the ignition.

In the "Camp Crossfire" segment, Woodson and Marcellus Wiley debated who would have the bigger debut season between Spiller and San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews.

Wiley went with Mathews because Chargers coach Norv Turner already has committed to him being the workhorse. Woodson backed Spiller.

"The guy that's going to be the most exciting on the football field as a rookie," Woodson said, "is going to be C.J. Spiller up in Buffalo. The reason why is because Chan Gailey has come out said 'Hey, we're going to give him 12 to 15 carries this year, but he's going to make his huge impact is not only as a slot receiver, but in the return game.'

"That's where you're going to see C.J. Spiller become who he really is as a football player. By the end of this season, you better watch out. This guy might be rookie of the year."

On other topics the past couple days, Woodson also predicted New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson would be the biggest dud of 2010, but Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie would prove to be the biggest complementary acquisition of the offseason.

Dolphins trade out of 12th spot

April, 22, 2010
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- While Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix and vice president of college scouting Tom Modrak were explaining why they chose Clemson running back C.J. Spiller with the ninth overall draft pick, the Miami Dolphins made a trade.

The Dolphins dealt their 12th pick to the San Diego Chargers for the 28th and 40th selections in the draft.

The Spiller selection likely played a role in the Chargers' decision to move up.

In need of a running back to take over for LaDainian Tomlinson, the Chargers selected Fresno State's Ryan Mathews.