NFC South: Lance Briggs
Let’s turn to ESPN Stats & Information for a look at draft picks that have been forfeited for various reasons since 1980:
- 2011 Lions forfeit seventh-round pick for tampering with Chiefs players
- 2008 49ers forfeit fifth-round pick for tampering with Bears linebacker Lance Briggs
- 2008 Patriots forfeit first-round pick for Spygate scandal
- 2002-05 Broncos forfeit 2005 third-round pick, 2002 third-round pick for circumventing salary cap between 1996 and 1998
- 2001-02 49ers forfeit 2002 third-round pick, 2001 fifth-round pick for salary cap violations
- 2001 Steelers forfeit third-round pick for exceeding 1998 salary cap
- 1986 Patriots forfeit third-round pick for illegal use of injured reserve list
- 1981 Broncos forfeit third-round pick for contract violations involving Bill Thompson
- 1981 Raiders forfeit fifth-round pick for illegally sequestering two players in 1978
- 1980 Eagles forfeit third-round pick for holding illegal tryout
- 1980 Raiders forfeit fourth-round pick for evasion of player limit
According to playing-time numbers obtained by ESPN.com, Lofton participated in 986 of Atlanta’s 996 defensive plays (99 percent). Weatherspoon was right behind him, taking part in 976 plays (97.9 percent). Those two and Carolina’s James Anderson (97.3 percent) easily outdistanced the rest of the NFC South linebackers in playing time.
In fact, only Cleveland’s D'Qwell Jackson, St. Louis' James Laurinaitis, Chicago’s Lance Briggs and Washington’s Ryan Kerrigan, who each played all of their team’s defensive snaps, and Minnesota’s Chad Greenway (99.3 percent) participated in a higher percentage of plays than Lofton, Weatherspoon and Anderson.
Here’s a list at the rest of the leading NFC South linebackers in percentage of playing time:
But this is Iron Man Day, so we’re going to talk about offensive linemen. As a general rule, offensive linemen get a greater percentage of playing time than players at all the other positions. That’s part of the nature of the position -- teams want continuity.
In 2011, 42 NFL players took part in 100 percent of their teams offensive and defensive snaps. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, Cleveland linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, St. Louis linebacker James Laurinitis, Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs, Washington linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and Tennessee cornerback Cortland Finnegan all deserve special mention for taking part in 100 percent of their team’s snaps at positions where that’s pretty rare.
Aside from those six players, 36 others took part in all of their team’s offensive plays. All of them were offensive linemen and seven of them were from the NFC South.
Carolina guard Geoff Hangartner, Atlanta guard Justin Blalock, New Orleans guard Carl Nicks, Tampa Bay guard Davin Joseph, Atlanta tackle Tyson Clabo, New Orleans tackle Jermon Bushrod and Tampa Bay tackle Donald Penn each took part in every one of their team’s offensive snaps.
Several other NFC South offensive linemen also came close to achieving that honor. Here’s a look at the other NFC South linemen that played more than 90 percent of their team’s offensive snaps.
- Carolina center Ryan Kalil, 99.3.
- New Orleans guard Jahri Evans, 96.8.
- Carolina guard Travelle Wharton, 95.6.
- Carolina tackle Jordan Gross, 92.5.
- Tampa Bay tackle Jeremy Trueblood, 92.1.
- Tampa Bay center Jeff Faine, 90.5.
This time, it’s Carolina linebacker Jon Beason. He’s been added as an alternate to replace Chicago’s Lance Briggs, who had to withdraw due to injury.
This will extend Beason’s streak of consecutive Pro Bowls to three. He’ll join Carolina center Ryan Kalil and tackle Jordan Gross in the all-star game in Honolulu later this week.
A player, coach or issue that should be on your radar as training camp approaches.
As recently as a couple of days ago, Jamar Williams looked like a backup linebacker and special-teams player for the Carolina Panthers. Now, he could be a starter.
With Thomas Davis suffering his second torn ACL in less than a year, the Panthers suddenly are looking for a starter and Williams may be their safest option. Although rookie Eric Norwood and some other young players could be factors, Williams is the most experienced of the candidates to replace Davis.
He’s only 25, but Williams spent four seasons with the Bears. He has started only three games in his career, but he was the top backup to Lance Briggs and got a lot of playing time, making 43 tackles. At 6-foot and 237 pounds, Williams fits Carolina’s profile of linebackers who aren’t huge, but can run.
Williams has shown the ability to cover tight ends and running backs in the passing game. He may not be a playmaker like Davis, but Williams remains a bit of an unknown and there could be an upside. Briggs prevented Williams from really getting a chance in Chicago.
But Davis’ injury is going to give Williams a chance to raise his profile in Carolina.
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Delhomme just took a massive hit as he slid to the ground on a scramble. Linebacker Lance Briggs and safety Brandon McGowan weren't called for a penalty as they hit Delhomme, but it's likely one or both of them will be fined for the play.
Delhomme was visibly upset as he came off the field. Keep an eye on Delhomme when he gets back on the field. He's an emotional guy and a play like that may fire him up.