Chat with Ashley Fox
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com NFL columnist Ashley Fox stops by to chat.
Fox joined ESPN.com in 2011 after 11 years as a writer and columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she covered the National Football League, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia 76ers. She also has worked at the Louisville Courier-Journal and Sports Illustrated. A North Carolina native, Fox lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband, daughter and son.
Send your questions now and join Fox on Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Ashley Fox (1:00 PM)
Happy Monday, everybody. Thanks for joining me. Hope you all enjoyed the draft. Let's get to it.
After the draft, who is the favorite in the NFC East?
Ashley Fox (1:04 PM)
Nick, you can't discount the reigning world champs. They had a solid draft, filling needs. I thought it was fascinating that their three division rivals all moved up in the first round. I don't think that was a coincidence. I thought the Eagles had a very good draft moving up to get Fletcher Cox and then drafting Mychal Kendricks and Vinny Curry in the second round. They've upgraded their linebackers and their d-line. Going into the season, I would probably rank the division like this: 1. Eagles. 2. Giants. 3. Cowboys. 4. Redskins. But the difference between 1, 2 and 3 is slim.
Josh S. (Philly)
Is this a make or break year for michael vick?
Ashley Fox (1:06 PM)
Staying in the NFC East for a minute here. Josh, I think this will be a big year for Mike. He has to stay healthy. The Eagles are loaded. They spent the better part of the off season re-signing their own guys and upgrading their defense. Vick needs to play well and stay on the field. If he does, they have a chance to be very good. If he doesn't, we might see the Andy Reid era end.
Ashley,What are your thoughts are the Panthers' draft? In my opinion, other than Kuechly and Alexander, the Panthers laid an egg. They passed on several good DTs and decent WRs. What do you think their reasoning for that is? I do not have as much faith in our 2nd year DTs coming off injuries as some do.
Ashley Fox (1:09 PM)
I hear you, Jeff, and I know you aren't alone. I loved the Kuechly pick. He should have an immediate impact. The feeling at defensive tackle there obviously was that Ron Edwards can anchor the line, even though he is coming off an injury. They used two third-round picks on defensive tackles last year and are hoping to see a jump from those guys from Year 1 (with no off season work) to Year 2.
Ben (KC) [via mobile]
Hi ashley, happy monday my question is Is it a reach to say the chiefs ( at worst) have locked up a wild card spot given their offseason so far and their schedule
Ashley Fox (1:13 PM)
Hi Ben. Love the optimism. The Chiefs have had a strong off season, but they made one of the riskiest picks of the draft selecting Dontari Poe at No. 11. He is a freak of nature, no doubt, but according to scouts he didn't show it all the time on film. I talked to one of his coaches at Memphis who said they didn't use him the way they should have. Maybe that was it. But he needs to pan out. The West is looking strong. Denver and San Diego have made significant upgrades. There was only one division last year that had three teams in the playoffs. Three from the West might make it.
ricardo,tx [via mobile]
Who wins afc west?? GO CHARGERS!!
Ashley Fox (1:16 PM)
Staying on that theme, I'm with you, Ricardo, that the Chargers are looking strong. They needed impact players on defense and they got them in the draft. South Carolina pass rusher Melvin Ingram fills their biggest need and should be an immediate starter. They got UConn defensive lineman Kendall Reyes at 49 and LSU safety Brandon Taylor at 73. Force my hand: 1. Broncos. 2. Chargers. 3. Chiefs. 4. Raiders. But like the NFC East, they're all pretty close.
Mariopvn NORWALK, CA [via mobile]
Was the BRONCOS qb pick in round 2 a good move or bad? i believe it was bad since we got holes in our D . and we are in win now mode. i think we covld of picked up one next year. if we invested 95 million then he must be alright
Ashley Fox (1:18 PM)
One more from the AFC West then I'll move along... I was pretty surprised the Broncos took Brock Osweiler at 57. Probably could have waited a bit. Denver is all in on Manning, so why not surround him with the best players who can play now? Osweiler is a project. He doesn't help your team this year or next year. It has to be about winning immediately.
I know it has been well documented and discussed, but what do you make of the Redskins drafting Cousins when RGIII is clearly the future?
Ashley Fox (1:20 PM)
I was really surprised by that one. Shanahan said he just couldn't help himself, and maybe it will pay dividends later if they can develop Cousins and get something back in return. But it is the same point as in Denver: Help your No. 1 guy as best you can, especially when you don't have another first-round pick until 2015.
Jon (St. Louis)
I tend to like the picks made by the Rams. With the need of so many positions, how do you think the Rams did?
Ashley Fox (1:23 PM)
Well, St. Louis had six of the first 96 picks, so I hope they got some players of impact. Kiper gave the Rams a B- grade, which is pretty good, but he and Gruden made the point that they didn't get an overall star player. Michael Brockers fills a need, but needs work. They had three second-round picks, which probably gave them the flexibility to take a chance on Jenkins. This team has a lot of needs still. They've got four first-round picks in the next two drafts, so the rebuilding work will continue.
Trapp (Hays, KS)
So which non-playoff team seems most primed for a run this year now that the draft is over?
Ashley Fox (1:27 PM)
Wow. Good question. The league loves parity, which is why every year we have a slew of new playoff teams. Here are a few early frontrunners: San Diego, Philadelphia, Chicago. Maybe the Jets. Maybe. I'd throw Dallas in there, too.
Jake Y (Florida)
In your opinion, how will Robert Griffin III do?
Ashley Fox (1:29 PM)
I think he will do well as long as everybody stays patient. There was not a more impressive guy at the draft than RG3. He is smart, savvy, knowledgeable, seems grounded. But there will be enormous expectations on him and he will have to try to limit the noise around him. There was someone in the crowd at Radio City Thursday night holding a poster with Griffin's face and the word "HOPE." It is a big job to be the quarterback of the Washington Redskins.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Be careful jumping on that Charger bandwagon Ashley. Norv has been known to disappoint people who fall in love with his talented teams.
Ashley Fox (1:29 PM)
Very funny. Duly noted.
When you heard the commissioner say, "With the 15th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select Bruce Irvin", were you as shocked as I was? I get that he fits their scheme, but wow, that was a massive reach.
Ashley Fox (1:32 PM)
Yep, that pretty much sums it up. I went back and looked: Kiper had Irvin as a late second round guy, in part because he's not a three-down player (yet). He very well might get 10 sacks this year, but he is one dimensional.
Don (Berkeley, CA)
Will Janoris Jenkins prove his critics wrong and become the top corner in this draft when we look back on it?
Ashley Fox (1:34 PM)
Great question. Will be fascinating to watch. I like that he is with Jeff Fisher now, but he brings a considerable amount of baggage. I think we will look back and point to Morris Claiborne. Love the guy.
Greg Schiano (One buc place)
Do you think my Bucs have a shot at the division title?
Ashley Fox (1:37 PM)
You had a really nice draft, coach. Seriously, to go from 4-12 to a division title would be an incredible turnaround, particularly under a first-time NFL coach. I don't think the Bucs were as bad as they showed last year. They just quit on their coach. They got three potential starters with their first three picks. Mark Barron was the best safety in the draft. Running back Doug Martin and LB Lavonte David should step in. The Bucs have gotten better. With New Orleans' situation obviously still up in the air, the division has opened up.
Dan (Skins QB non controversy)
Ms Fox, I was just wondering if you read the comments from Shanahan about drafting two QBs? After reading those it was pretty clear to me that RGIII is the franchise QB that they have heavily invested in and how Cousins fits in as a developmental backup. Where exactly is the QB Controversy? Or is this something that is just useful to put out there to get page views?
Ashley Fox (1:38 PM)
I didn't say there was a controversy, but it creates the potential for one. I wouldn't want there to be any potential for one for the reason you noted: RG3 is the franchise QB.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Ashley, do you feel that the Vikings will be improved from 2012 compared to their 3-13 season in 2011?
Ashley Fox (1:40 PM)
Hi, Al. Unfortunately, I think it's going to be a long season for the Vikings. Young QB. Fantastic RB coming off a devastating injury. They helped themselves in the draft, but there's a lot of work to do. And that division might prove to be the best division in football this year.
I know you're a Philly girl, but do understand the Browns' draft choices? One questionable WR in the late round when WR is your greatest need??? Ugh...
Ashley Fox (1:45 PM)
I live in Philly now, so I guess that makes me a Philly girl, but I'm not a native. Nevertheless... I'm guessing Browns fans weren't crazy about the draft, but if they (Heckert, Holmgren) didn't believe in their quarterback, which clearly was the case, it really doesn't matter who the wide receivers are. They had to address that need first. You can argue whether Weeden was worth a first-round pick or not and whether they really needed to jump up to three to get Richardson. I thought they'd look at RB then WR then QB, but that was working under the assumption they were sticking with McCoy. But I hear you. Going to be another long year in Cleveland.
Todd McShay (FILM ROOM FOR 2013)
What do I have to do to get to be on camera round 1? Do I need more product in my hair like Mel? seriously help me out
Ashley Fox (1:45 PM)
Now that's funny.
Flash forward to the year 2015, who will turn out to be the best pick from this draft? Or to put it another way, who do you have the most faith in to become a legit NFL player/potential superstar (outside of the top two QB's)??
Ashley Fox (1:49 PM)
I can't pick Luck? That's no fair. I'd pick Justin Blackmon, but his success is so closely tied to the man throwing him the football. So instead I'll go Morris Claiborne. I've heard him compared to Deion Sanders. That would be quite a thing. He was so shocked the Cowboys took him because they hadn't interviewed him, attended his pro day or talked to him at the combine. With that upgraded secondary, I think he's got a chance to make a huge impact.
Mike H (Acworth, GA)
Will there be issues for players who have bonus dollars in their contract for making the Pro Bowl if it cease's to exist? Would the NFLPA get involved?
Ashley Fox (1:52 PM)
You know, Mike, that's a good question. I'll have to look into that. I feel bad for the players on this one, because the Pro Bowl is a really great trip. I've been once, two years ago, and it was cool to watch the guys interact. They really enjoyed themselves. The league hurt the product by moving it to the week before the Super Bowl, although the TV ratings were still high, and the players haven't helped it by not really playing. All that is to say I'm not sure what the answer is, given the demands on the players' bodies in a 16-game season. Clearly, the league isn't sure, either.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Ashley, are you a baseball fan at all? If so, do you have a favorite MLB team?
Ashley Fox (1:54 PM)
I wouldn't describe myself as a baseball fan, per se. But the Phillies are on in my house every night (I'm surrounded by Phillies fans). Hard to escape it. They need to start hitting.
Does Samuel have anything left for my Falcons?
Ashley Fox (1:56 PM)
Yes, I think he does. Asante is probably the best corner in the league at reading a quarterback and then jumping a route. That hasn't changed. Just remember he's not going to tackle anybody. I think the change of scenery will probably do him some good -- he was really bent at the Philly front office after they put him on the trading block last season -- and he is a good fit for the Falcons. He will help.
How much would it take to acquire Osi Umenyiora ?
Ashley Fox (1:57 PM)
If I had to guess, not too much. But that's just a guess.
Ashley Fox (1:57 PM)
Alright guys, I've got to go. Thanks for joining me. We'll do it again next week. If you want, hit me up on Twitter -- @AshleyMFox -- and I'll answer more questions there. Have a good week.