Archive for the ‘New entries’ Category

Late round/UDFA Quarterback prospects who could become the GUY –

(Leaving out Jalen Hurts, Jake Fromm, Anthony Gordon as likely already drafted passers)

Arizona, Khalil Tate – Dual threat, high ceiling quarterback out of Arizona. Tate’s best work came in his sophomore year, rushing for over a thousand yards and getting 10+ passing TD’s and 10+ rushing TD’s. Tate has arm strength, athleticism, and has shown he CAN perform at a high level. I feel he would best fit somewhere he can learn fundamentals, Seattle behind Russell Wilson, Philly with Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz, or San Francisco with Kyle Shanahan. Tate did not get an invite to the combine so he may go undrafted as teams are struggling to meet with players and run physicals at this time.

Iowa, Nate Stanley – Stanley received some early round draft hype coming out of the 2018 college season, but he returned to school for his senior year, and didn’t repeat at the same level. Stanley’s got desirable height at 6’4″, so a more old school GM like Giants GM Dave Gettleman or Bengals GM Mike Brown might appreciate what Stanley brings as a “pocket passer” as opposed to Tate who competes as a dual threat passer. Stanley, by and large, showed he can keep his turnovers low while maximizing his “deep ball accuracy” (Zierlein) throughout his career at Iowa. Parcells has worked with Cleveland in recent years, and Stanley’s alignment with the “Parcells rules” for drafting QBs (Senior, 30 starts, 23 wins, graduated, 2-1 TD/INT ratio) might influence Cleveland to look at Stanley as a late round passer.

North Texas, Mason Fine – Fine reminds me a lot of Case Keenum, a super prolific passer with ALL of the starts, and is a little shorter (5’11”) than many GMs like. Fine started his first game at North Texas when Obama was still in office. Fine’s YPA never flew off the board (avg. 7.6), but he was consistently an accurate passer and is used to a pass-heavy workload. A team like Arizona (already used to a below 6ft. passer) who passes at a high volume could see Fine as a fit for their offense (as a backup). The Texans could also fit, who’ve collected a group of reliable quick pass receivers (Duke Johnson, David Johnson, Darren Fells Randall Cobb, Kenny Stills) that could help local passer Fine adjust to an NFL offense.

Utah, Tyler Huntley – Huntley’s body of work at Utah showed a very low volume, ultra-efficient passer. Huntley led the Utes to an 11-3 campaign losing out to Oregon narrowly missing out on the CFB Playoffs. Huntley completed over 70 percent of his passes, 10+ yards per attempt with only 4 interceptions against 19 passing TDs (5 rushing). Huntley only thew 301 passes in 2019, suggesting he may be a good fit for a run first offense like Tennessee or Buffalo. I see traces of Alex Smith in Huntley: very risk averse, athletic, and takes what the defense gives him.

Hawaii, Cole McDonald – I don’t typically love system guys like McDonald, but Mahomes went to Texas Tech, the ultimate ‘system’ school, so I’m trying to work around my own biases. McDonald has a big arm, he’s pretty accurate, and he even had an impressive 40 time of 4.58 at the combine. McDonald is definitely used to a pass heavy system like the Chiefs, Rams, or Eagles have, 3+ receiver set offenses would tailor to his comfort zone more than a traditional NFL offense would. McDonald struggled mightily against pressure so he would likely need an already great offensive line/quick pass scheme to be effective.

The Patriot Way can’t be copied 

New Eagle corner Darius Slay said he lost respect of Lions coach Matt Patricia when Patricia told Slay he was “good, not elite.” I can certainly appreciate that the competitive nature of a professional athlete will cause them to bristle at the notion that they are “good” instead of “elite.” Patricia comes from an environment where the head coach (Belichick) routinely shreds their Hall of Fame, actual G.O.A.T. QB on a regular basis, and in front of everyone. So his calling Slay ‘good’ is pretty tame by comparison. Belichick has the leverage to continue to coach like this because Brady has simply put up with it for so long, and the leader of the Patriot way continues to win Super Bowls, and is himself the GOAT of coaches. Patricia and Texans coach B.O.B. are not the GOAT of coaches. They have won zero superbowls as head coaches. And their quarterbacks are younger men who are not used to/wont put up with the old-school hyper critical borderline toxic/actually toxic treatment that football coaches have been shouting out to their athletes for decades all across the country at every level of play. Some people (including myself some times) criticize this younger generation of players for being soft, but a lot of problems that went unaddressed in society are linked to unquestioned facets of society like “the football coach just yells all the time, that’s the way it is.” This change may show us young athletes who don’t respond to criticism with as thick skin as maybe fans are used to, but maybe we’ll be healthier as a society if we acknowledge how this type of behavior gets into the subconscious and try to be a little more human. Like most changes in society, it seems to be more of a trade off rather than an “only good” or an “only bad” change. In my millennial brain, I see it as a “more good than bad” change. Not that I know anything, I just had too much caffeine and needed to write something.

Song of the blog post is G-Eazy’s “Everything will be okay

Cincinnati – Joe Burrow, LSU quarterback. The Bengals would probably trade out of here for, say, four first round picks, but they wouldn’t draft any one else here.

Washington – Chase Young, Ohio State defensive end. While I won’t rule out Washington drafting Tua Tagovailoa. I think Chase still has the majority vote here, Haskins is largely unknown, and Tua remains a risk with his injury.

Detroit – Isaiah Simmons, Clemson Safety/Linebacker. Simmons’ stock jumped sky high from his combine performance. Okudah makes a lot of sense here, drawing comparisons to Patriot star corner Stephon Gilmore, a corner Matt Patricia is very familiar with. I have to believe Simmons, the linebacker/safety hybrid, will be viewed as the “better overall player” and Quinn/Patricia will want Simmons. I personally think Detroit should draft Tua, but I’ve heard very little about that being a real possibility.

NY Giants – Mekhi Becton, Louisville Offensive tackle. Becton is the biggest offensive tackle I can remember in the draft. Heavier than Jonathan Ogden, Leonard Davis, Orlando Brown, and he ran a very impressive 5.10 40 time. Gettleman has been pretty vocal about establishing the run, and Becton is this year’s Jawaan Taylor (run blocking tackle) except without the injury concerns.

Miami – Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama quarterback. His medical’s checked out since the injury. And he’s the best quarterback in the class.

LA Chargers – Jordan Love, Utah State quarterback. Love looks like a better fit for LA than Herbert.

Carolina – Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State cornerback. The Panthers may opt to tank in ’20 for Trevor Lawrence. Recently signed Teddy Bridgewater has an out in his contract after the 2021 season. Okudah is the best corner in the draft and the Panthers would be silly to not draft him.

Arizona – Jedrick Wills, Alabama offensive tackle. Trading for DeAndre Hopkins allows Arizona to address a badly suffering offensive line group. Wills is a technician who thrived at Alabama.

Jacksonville – Derrick Brown, Auburn defensive tackle. Brown would’ve been a first rounder in 2018, but he returned to school to finish his senior year.  Brown is a force against the run and as a pass rusher. This is a ‘best player available’ pick here, Jacksonville can line him up next to Marcell Dareus and Josh Allen/Yannick Ngakoue. Kristian Fulton or Tristan Wirfs could also go here.

Cleveland – Andrew Thomas, Georgia offensive tackle. Thomas has experience starting at left tackle, and crushed defenders as a run blocker and pass protector. The acquisition of Jack Conklin who played Right tackle in Tennessee allows Cleveland to quickly turn an area of weakness into a strength at Tackle.

NY Jets – Tristan Wirfs, Iowa offensive tackle. Wirfs showed up at the combine with a 40 in the 4.8 range and already had a reputation for his crazy impressive strength. Wirfs can play guard or tackle in year one and brings badly needed blocking to a struggling NY Jets offense.

Las Vegas – Jerry Jeudy, Alabama wide receiver. The Raiders have the worst wide receiver group in football. Jeudy is the best (according to some) wide receiver in the draft class.

San Francisco – CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma wide receiver. The 49ers as of yet haven’t resigned their best wideout from 2019, Emmanuel Sanders. In either case, drafting Lamb is in the interest of their club and winning for seasons to come. Lamb averaged over 20 yards a catch in his 2019 campaign.

Tampa Bay – Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina defensive tackle. Kinlaw had a strong senior bowl performance and a strong 2019 in general. Kinlaw is maybe the best player available at this slot. Kinlaw smoothly fits in where Ndamukong Suh lined up.

Denver – C.J. Henderson, Florida cornerback. The Broncos added A.J. Bouye but lost Chris Harris. Henderson’s stock has risen since the end of the college season, and teams really need 5 starting caliber defensive backs.

Atlanta – A.J. Epenesa, Iowa defensive end. Death, taxes, and the Falcons need a pass rusher: the only three constants in the universe. Epenesa is not a high ceiling edge rusher, but effective in the run game and as a pass rusher, Epenesa forced 4 fumbles in 2019, demonstrating his playmaker skills.

Dallas – Xavier McKinney, Alabama safety. McKinney was a reliable safety at college football’s talent factory, Alabama. He can start as a nickel or at safety if needs be.

Miami – Josh Jones, Houston offensive tackle. Miami needs serious help in the front five. Jones showed up well at the senior bowl and is expected to be a first round pick.

Las Vegas – Kristian Fulton, LSU cornerback. The Raiders will need to replace some key assets in the secondary, losing Karl Joseph and Daryl Worley. It’s obvious Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock pay close attention to the championship game, where Fulton allowed zero receiving touchdowns. Fulton has allowed a completion rate of 40% since 2018.

Jacksonville – Denzel Mims, Baylor wide receiver. Mims showed at the senior bowl he’s not a one trick pony. He’s got height, he’s got speed, he can run a route tree, the Jaguars could really use wide receiver outside of D.J. Chark to catch passes.

Philadelphia – Grant Delpit, LSU Safety. Delpit is maybe the best safety in this draft class. The Eagles need serious help at wide receiver and defensive back. Delpit would be a value pick at 21 who the Eagles desperately need. The Eagles could also draft yet another wide receiver, Tee Higgins or Michael Pittman.

Minnesota – Henry Ruggs, Alabama wide receiver. The Vikings will want to replace Stefon Diggs, and really need defensive back help. Ruggs is a BURNER who likely won’t fall this far.

New England – Justin Herbert, Oregon quarterback. Herbert won’t be available here, but the Patriots will draft him if he is. Herbert has a lot of raw potential Bill and Nick Caserio will find intriguing. If Herbert isn’t here, they could target Jacob Eason or trade back and draft Jake Fromm.

New Orleans – Laviska Shenault, Colorado WR. Michael Thomas is the only receiving threat on this roster. Shenault specializes in gadget, quick pass plays the Saints have been running with Brees at 40+ years old.

Minnesota – A.J. Terrell, Clemson cornerback. Terrell is one of the draft’s bigger-bodied corners and ran an impressive 4.42 40 time. While he can struggle against big receivers, Terrell’s used to big-time games (like the 2019 national title), Terrell will likely be thrust into a starting role immediately given the Vikings need and should be able to keep up with division standouts like Kenny Golladay, Allen Robinson, and Davante Adams.

Miami – Trevon Diggs, Alabama cornerback. Standing at 6’2″, Diggs can hang with the league’s bigger receivers better than most. Lance Zierlein compared Diggs to Aqib Talib, who made his name as a tight end buster, and was a damn good corner for his whole career. Diggs performed well in his combine drills. Miami has two starting corners in Byron Jones and Xavien Howard and can use Diggs as a nickel.

Seattle – Curtis Weaver, Boise State defensive end. Weaver is the anti-D.K. Metcalf, who carries some bad weight but puts up consistently impressive numbers. The Seahawks look like they will lose Ziggy Ansah and Jadeveon Clowney, two starting outside defenders from 2019. Weaver is semi-local, Boise, Idaho being not TOO far from Seattle (as far as the north west goes.)

Baltimore – Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma linebacker. Murray was all over the field at Oklahoma. The Ravens added Calais Campbell for a late round pick, but really need help at linebacker. Murray has shown versatility in coverage, run defense and occasionally as a pass rusher.

Tennessee – Jeff Gladney, TCU cornerback. The Titans have some holes to plug on defense. Gladney’s an aggressive tackler and not shy about corner blitz assignments. The Titans lose Logan Ryan and Tramaine Brock this offseason.

Green Bay – Tee Higgins, Clemson wide receiver. The Packers have built a strong defense, and Aaron Rodgers desperately needs a receiver to throw to when Davante Adams is triple covered. Higgins’ ceiling is sky high. The Packers could also look at a tight end like Harrison Bryant or Cole Kmet.

San Francisco – Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois safety. Chinn was one of the fastest people at the combine, is 6’3″, and bench pressed 20 reps of 225. HE WEIGHS IN AT 220+. This is a small school Derwin James. The 49ers were getting burned not only by Tyreek Hill, but Sammy Watkins who is not an in demand wide receiver at this time.

Kansas City – Zack Baun, Wisconsin linebacker. The Chiefs suck at linebacker. Baun can rush the passer, but is effective at staying home and stopping the run as well.

Song of today’s blog is the new Onerepublic single

I can’t post pictures, they’re all copyrighted :(. (Here are some highlights courtesy of watchstadium.com)

Cunningham took over at QB for the injured Jawon Pass, and while he’s demonstrated some scrambling ability, Cunningham chucks the ball for over ELEVEN AND A HALF yards per attempt. That’s more than Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, and Trevor Lawrence threw for last season. The interesting thing about this is Cunningham’s completion percentage was kind of low at 62.6%, which means his passes at 11.5 YPA were even deeper downfield than a Burrow or Tagovailoa who achieved 11+ yards per attempt at 70+% completion.

Here are some key stats for Cunningham in 2019:

62.6% completion percentage, 2065 yards passing, 11.5 yards per attempt, 22 (passing) TDs, 5 INTs, 122 carries, 482 yards rushing, 4.0 yards per carry, 6 TDs (rushing). 5 fumbles, 3 lost fumbles.

Cunningham did not throw as many passes as other QBs, we don’t know what Cunningham’s play will look like over a full season of games and starts. Cunningham had some ups and downs. Not every game was perfect. He played against Clemson (a stacked future NFL defense) and looked pretty bad in his limited work. Against Clemson, Cunningham threw eleven passes, completed four of them, and threw one interception (no TDs). Clearly his game has room for improvement against elite defenses.

Cunningham’s best game (in my opinion) came in Louisville’s bowl game against Mississippi State. Against Mississippi State, Cunningham played against NFL talent like Willie Gay Jr. (LB), Chauncey Rivers (DL) and Kobe Jones (DL). Cunningham went 16/23 for 279 yards, 2 TDs, 16 carries for 81 yards rushing. Cunningham did a great job of scrambling (5 yards per carry), tossed the ball consistently deep down field (12+ Yards Per Attempt). Trying to weed out Cunningham’s target share has been infuriatingly difficult as Louisville often starts Cunningham with another QB in the same game.

I know stats are boring, but they tell us a story of a young QB who can absolutely SLING it without tons of NFL talent in his receiving corps, whereas hotshot quarterbacks like Burrow, and Tagovailoa have NFL caliber receivers to throw to. Cunningham will be draft eligible in 2021, teams may be more willing to look at Louisville as a QB school with the success of Lamar Jackson with Baltimore. Cunningham’s name joins a growing list of names like Jamie Newman, Spencer Rattler, and Tyler Shough who could really take off in 2020 with new opportunities at Georgia, Oklahoma, and Oregon.

Song of the day is “Moon” by Kid Francescoli.

Wide receiver

1. CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

2. Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

3. Henry Ruggs, Alabama

4. K.J. Hill, The Ohio State

5. Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State

Honorable Mention(s): Jalen Reagor, Michael Pittman, Tee Higgins

I like Lamb a little more than Jeudy because he played on the outside more and dominated. Jeudy thrived primarily as a slot receiver. Both are elite prospects, I just prefer Lamb slightly. K.J. Hill performed well at the Senior Bowl and got involved in the offense even with Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon hogging targets in 2018. Aiyuk is a YAC specialist who outperformed N’Keal Harry, former ASU standout/first round pick. YAC is becoming more of a focal point as teams seem to be focusing on it with the success of players like Deebo Samuel and Alvin Kamara in quick pass offenses. I’m concerned that Laviska Shenault’s not a great fit for a conventional downfield passing attack, though he looks like he could fit in a creative offense like under Kyle Shanahan or Denver with Pat Shurmur. This is a super interesting wide receiver class with guys like Van Jefferson and Antonio Gandy-Golden who could be late round gems on the right team. I definitely feel this is the “wide receiver” draft.

Tight end

1. Harrison Bryant, Florida Atlantic

2. Cole Kmet, Notre Dame

3. Devin Asiasi, UCLA

4. Adam Trautman, Dayton

5. Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt

Honorable mention(s): Hunter Bryant, Albert Okwuegbunam

The 2020 class doesn’t feel like the strongest tight end class. I am higher on Asiasi than most because of his blocking potential. Adam Trautman and Harrison Bryant both performed well at the Senior Bowl, according to PFF. I felt Bryant’s volume of work at FAU with respected offensive mind Lane Kiffin and his Senior Bowl performance made him the “safest” prospect here. Lance Zierlein described Pinkney as an improved blocker in 2019 and as a player not afraid of contact in the middle of the field. Cole Kmet had one monster performance against a very good Georgia defense.

Running back

1. Zack Moss, Utah

2. D’Andre Swift, Georgia

3. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

4. J.K. Dobbins, The Ohio State

5. A.J. Dillon, Boston College

Honorable mention(s):  Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Javon Leake, Antonio Gibson

I feel D’Andre Swift had a better line in front of him blocking, why I chose to rank Moss at 1 overall here. Taylor has continued to be very consistent for Wisconsin since his freshman year. Dobbins ran for over 2,000 yards in 2019 at an impressive 6.7 yards per carry. A.J. Dillon is 6 ft 0, and plays at 250 lbs. Watching his game tape, he plays physical and can really get going, though he’s not likely to be the best back at lateral quickness. Travis Etienne would be number one here for me but he returned to school for 2020.

Offensive tackle

1. Jedrick Wills, Alabama

2. Andrew Thomas, Georgia

3. Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

4. Josh Jones, Houston

5. Trey Adams, Washington

Honorable Mention(s): Matt Peart, Calvin Throckmorton

I chose to leave Mekhi Becton (Future FreezingColdTakes) off the list. Even gigantic O-line standouts like Orlando Brown Jr. and Leonard Davis weren’t 370 lbs. I hope I’m wrong about him, he seems like a good kid. Wills played at right tackle for Bama but earned praise for keeping rushers away from Tua this season. Thomas has been a pivotal part of pass protecting for Fromm and paving the way for Swift, two NFL draftees in 2020. PFF talked about Wirfs and his impressive strength even amongst his peers, Iowa is becoming a NFL talent factory more and more each season. Trey Adams didn’t have a glamorous 2019, but he’s been a longtime left tackle for Jake Browning and in ’19, Jacob Eason. Adams has tons of starting experience against quality competition and can still gain some weight at 6’8″.

Guard/Center

1. Netane Muti, Fresno State

2. Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin

3. Damien Lewis, LSU

4. Logan Stenberg, Kentucky

5. Jonah Jackson, The Ohio State

Honorable Mention(s): Lloyd Cushenberry, Ben Bartch, Darryl Williams

Netane Muti looked a little out of place at Fresno State, more than holding his own against defenses like USC. Muti is a top 15 overall player for me in this draft, he plays with excellent leverage and looks crazy strong. Biadasz has been a steady holdover for Wisconsin and a key cog in their rushing attack, Biadasz has demonstrated top pass pro skills as well. Lewis plays well as a run blocker and needs improvement as a pass protector. Lewis helped LSU earn the prestigious Joe Moore award as the top OL in the country. Stenberg is a reliable if unsexy blocker who doesn’t get glamorous finishes, but run blocks well and keeps his QB upright and away from his assignment. Jonah Jackson stood out at the Senior Bowl and has tons of experience being a grad transfer from Rutgers to Ohio State.

Quarterback

1. Joe Burrow, LSU

2. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

3. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma

4. Jake Fromm, Georgia

5. Justin Herbert, Oregon

Honorable mention(s): Jordan Love, Mason Fine, Josh Love, Khalil Tate

I will die on the “Jalen Hurts is an underrated QB prospect” hill if I have to. Wins the starting job at Alabama of all places, has GREAT stats at ‘Bama and gets benched for Tua Tagovailoa, one of the greatest college passers of all time. He even transferred to Oklahoma (the school where the last two first overall picks went to) and put on a BONKERS good season. He has always been super accurate, he avoids turnovers, he’s an elite scrambler, Hurts even has great deep ball arm strength. Joe Burrow and Tua are easily the two best QB prospects in this class, but Hurts has done just about everything a man could do to help himself. Jake Fromm beat out Jacob Eason and Justin Fields as the starter at Georgia, which no one wants to mention when talking about him as a “game manager.” I am obviously not high on Justin Herbert, but Gil Brandt really likes him, which honestly is why I put him on this list at all.

All quarterbacks are system quarterbacks

The older I get and the more football I watch, the more the Daniel Jones pick by Dave Gettleman makes sense to me. I definitely still think its a bad pick, but we’re seeing quarterbacks play so differently depending on their scheme. Absolutely no one predicted Lamar Jackson would have the year he had. And he didn’t have that year because he just became a WAY better quarterback. Greg Roman ran more plays that Jackson could handle, and the offense took off. 2019 was maybe the best offense Baltimore’s ever had.

Ryan Tannehill was a castoff from a bad Miami team. He was traded to Tennessee to be the backup for Marcus Mariota, or the next QB they draft if their started in ’20 was not on the roster. After Mariota got benched, Tannehill stepped in and played worlds better than he or Mariota ever had. What Tannehill can do as a quarterback meshes well with A.J. Brown, Corey Davis and that offense. Tannehill didn’t improve overnight, he fell into a system that badly needs what he does well.

Daniel Jones is not a great quarterback at all. But if his front office can find out what he does well, and Jones is a healthy, smart, coachable guy, that might make Jones more of an appealing prospect than a QB who may already self-identify as a big shot in the eyes of a general manager. I would still say Haskins is the better pick over Jones, but dealing with “small” things that can take an emotional toll like contract holdouts, off-field issues could occupy a lot of space in a GM’s mind. An “aww shucks” guy like Jones may give the impression that he wont carry those risks as much as a super high confidence QB like most prospects are. Again, the pick still seems wrong to me, but LESS wrong than before.

Song of the day is “See it so clear” by Keane (Acoustic).

 

Dallas – A.J. Epenesa, Iowa DE – Jerry likes to draft players high close to the line of scrimmage. Robert Quinn, defensive end who totaled 11.5 sacks for Dallas in ’19, will likely not be back as Dallas tries to find a way to pay Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and several other free agents. Epenesa sacked the QB 11.5 times in ’19, forced 4 fumbles, and even defended three passes. Epenesa has great measurables, is a great value pick at 17, and meets an important need for Dallas.

Miami – Mekhi Becton, Louisville OT – The Dolphins offensive line is maybe the worst in football. Daniel Jeremiah has Becton as a potential top five pick. If available here, Chris Grier would have to seriously consider him as their top option.

Las Vegas – Jaylon Johnson, Utah CB – Gruden and Mayock have shown a willingness to invest in the secondary with the signing of Lamarcus Joyner and drafting Jonathan Abram and Trayvon Mullen early in the ’19 draft. The team declined the fifth year on safety Karl Joseph and is likely losing Daryl Worley at CB in free agency. Jaylon Johnson has allowed 3 touchdowns in his last two season at Utah. They could also go with a linebacker here, or OL Netane Muti as Gruden likes to establish the run.

Jacksonville – Trevon Diggs, Alabama CB – Jacksonville traded away starting cornerback Jalen Ramsey for draft picks and are likely to cut ties with starting cornerback A.J. Bouye in an attempt to pay their more ‘high priority’ players. The Jaguars have a need at cornerback. Diggs is one of the bigger corners in the game and faced plenty of NFL-caliber competition while starting for Alabama.

Philadelphia – Grant Delpit, LSU Safety – Delpit is maybe the best safety in this draft class. The Eagles need serious help at wide receiver and defensive back. Delpit would be a value pick at 21 who the Eagles desperately need. The Eagles could also draft yet another wide receiver, Tee Higgins or Michael Pittman.

Buffalo – Tee Higgins, Clemson WR – The Bills don’t often target wide receivers early. Josh Allen has no recognizable names in the huddle to throw to. Higgins made the most of his involvement at Clemson. He moves quickly and has a giant wingspan. Talent evaluators have been high on K’Lavon Chaisson, and Buffalo’s edge rushers are getting up there in edge, so Chaisson may go here as well.

New England – Jalen Reagor, TCU WR – The Patriots usually draft a defensive back or a linebacker in the first round. They have NO receivers or tight ends on the roster. Reagor is diverse getting involved in special teams, the quick pass, and the deep ball, which Belichick will like. Reagor can move like a legitimate deep threat as well.

New Orleans – Laviska Shenault, Colorado WR – Michael Thomas is the only receiving threat on this roster. Shenault specializes in gadget, quick pass plays the Saints have been running with Brees at 40+ years old.

Minnesota – C.J. Henderson, Florida CB – The Vikings really struggle to put competitive cornerbacks on the field. While Henderson is not the mouthy, trash talking stereotype of a cornerback like Richard Sherman or Cortland Finnegan, Henderson had an impressive 2018 season and shows a willingness to get involved with stopping the run.

Miami – Xavier McKinney, Alabama Safety – Flores is a defensive coach and will push Chris Grier to draft defensive talent. McKinney is a versatile defender, recording two sacks against LSU’s Joe Burrow. Flores had high level secondary play with the McCourty brothers and Stephon Gilmore. McKinney brings versatility and top coverage ability to Miami to help replace the departed Minkah Fitzpatrick. 

Seattle – Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State CB – Seattle’s back four (or five) really needs help. Dantzler’s taller and VERY physical which reminds me of Richard Sherman’s and Brandon Browner’s play style in the early days of the Legion of Boom. 

Baltimore – Troy Dye, Oregon LB – Dye stops the run consistently and covers well. The Ravens will have a substantial need at linebacker, and are unlikely to be able to retain all of their free agents in the front seven set to leave in the off-season. Dye could afford to gain some weight, but demonstrates correct instincts and has proven to be a play-maker at Oregon. 

Tennessee – Bryce Hall, Virginia CB – The Titans are losing two cornerbacks in free agency, Logan Ryan and Tramaine Brock. Hall’s been a high performing cornerback for some time, his draft stock’s fallen due to an injury-shortened 2019. GM Jon Robinson shown a willingness to draft injured players with the Jeffery Simmons selection. Hall’s a technician at corner who can start right away if needs be. 

Green Bay – Brandon Aiyuk, ASU WR – The Packers are all around a relatively well stocked team. They have Davante Adams and a bunch of number 3/4s at wide receiver. Aiyuk is a YAC specialist, and while no one in Green Bay wants to admit it, Rodgers is entering THAT stage of his career. 

San Francisco – Ashtyn Davis, Cal Safety – San Francisco’s secondary got exposed by lesser athletes like Sammy Watkins. They also may not be able to retain Jimmie Ward who could go get paid a high dollar contract in free agency after a career year. Davis is not a sexy defensive back in terms of turnovers or big hits, but he covers well and moves quickly across the field when he needs to. Davis walked on to the Cal track team and competed well in the Hurdles.

Kansas City – Jordan Elliott, Missouri – The Chiefs may not be able to afford Chris Jones if he wants to sign a record breaking contract somewhere else. Elliott is a favorite of the PFF crowd and a local kid as well. Lance Zierlein, NFL.com writer compared Elliott to Kawann Short (one of the league’s better DT’s) and praised Elliott’s handwork as a defensive tackle.

 

Cincinnati – Joe Burrow. Until we hear differently about Cincy’s interest in Tua, Burrow is the man here.

Washington – Chase Young. Young is the best player in the draft. I could also see the Chargers or Dolphins trading up here for Tua.

Detroit – Tua Tagovailoa. You don’t get to draft top three very often. Unless you’re the Browns. Stafford was shut down last season about week 9 for a back injury he suffered several weeks earlier. While Stafford is playing well, he’s 32, injury prone, and has an out in his contract after 2020. Stafford could start in ’20, and sign with a contender for ’21 and beyond. (This is not a popular pick. Most mocks have Okudah or Brown going here.)

NY Giants – Isaiah Simmons. Dave Gettleman looks like an idiot sometimes. He still understands the value of drafting the best player available. Simmons has amazing versatility as a linebacker/safety/hybrid/manbearpig. I wanted to pick a Tackle here, but this draft has lots of tackles, and few players like Simmons show up in any draft never mind in any one draft.

Miami – Justin Herbert. While I personally am not sold on Herbert, I believe Chris Grier could like him. Herbert has a lot of likeable qualities from the perspective of a GM. I believe the Dolphins will have to trade up to get Tua. Herbert fits the prototypical QB mold, 6 ft 6, strong arm, athletic. Herbert even played well in the Senior bowl.

LA Chargers – Jordan Love. The Chargers drafted gunslingers in Brees and Rivers. While the GMs who selected those players are no longer with the organization, the leadership may look to go that direction after seeing high level quarterback play from Brees and Rivers for so long. Love is a California kid (grew up 2 hours from LA.) who will have play-makers (Keenan Allen and Mike Williams) to catch the ball as soon as he’s ready. The Chargers (or any team that drafts Love) might try and extract Matt Wells from Texas Tech or a ‘passing game coordinator’ to get the 2018 version of Love instead of the Draft Bust version of Love.

Carolina – Jeffrey Okudah. I don’t actually believe Okudah becomes available here, but if he is somehow, Tepper would be a big dumb idiot to not take him. Okudah is a STUD corner in a time cornerbacks are more important than ever.

Arizona – Jerry Jeudy. The Cardinals could go with Jedrick Wills or Andrew Thomas here. Jeudy is an elite route-runner and can maybe, actually, finally take over for Fitzgerald whenever he does retire. Kliff will want elite receivers to bring his air raid vision to life.

Jacksonville – Derrick Brown. Brown would’ve been a first rounder in 2018, but he returned to school to finish his senior year.  Brown is a force against the run and as a pass rusher. This is a ‘best player available’ pick here, Jacksonville can line him up next to Marcell Dareus and Josh Allen/Yannick Ngakoue. The Jaguars need corner help and could also take an offensive tackle.

Cleveland – Jedrick Wills. The Browns desperately need tackle help. Baker’s old teammate, CeeDee Lamb is going to be a tough prospect to turn down here. They can’t just keep adding skill weapons with no line to block for their quarterback though, especially after a nightmare that the 2019 season was. Wills blew up in 2019, and can start his natural position of right tackle or move to left immediately. The Browns need help in both spots.

NY Jets – Andrew Thomas. The Jets need help at wide receiver. They also have one of the worst offensive lines in football. Thomas has been a top pass/run blocker in college for 2 years. Jets GM Joe Douglas came from Philadelphia, which was known for dominant play around the line of scrimmage. I think they will prioritize offensive line here.

Las Vegas – CeeDee Lamb. I doubt Lamb is available here. Lamb brings badly needed skill at the Raiders weakest position group. Lamb can play outside and brings a missing dimension to the Raiders offense.

Indianapolis – Henry Ruggs III. The Colts need a Quarterback. And some help on defense. And receivers. Ruggs is a FAST receiver and will give the Colts QB1 a second option (besides T.Y. Hilton) to throw to. Jacob Eason is a possibility here, if Reich doesn’t mind a statue at QB.

Tampa Bay – Javon Kinlaw. Kinlaw had a strong senior bowl performance and a strong 2019 in general. Kinlaw is maybe the best player available at this slot. The Bucs could also go with Kristian Fulton or Jacob Eason here.

Denver – Kristian Fulton. The Broncos will almost certainly be without top DB Chris Harris for 2020. Fangio will want a corner to potentially keep up with Tyreek Hill and other WR1s. Fulton’s allowed a completion percentage of 40 percent since 2018.

Atlanta – Tristan Wirfs. The Falcons have long struggled at offensive line play. Wirfs is an ELITE guard prospect at Iowa with crazy strength and conditioning. Atlanta drafted McGary and Lindstrom in 2019 on OL, but still need help blocking for Ryan and their ground game. Wirfs is a highly respected athlete and may be too enticing to pass up at 16 if he falls to Atlanta.

 

 

Mock draft

Posted: January 19, 2020 in Football, New entries, NFL

Cincinnati –  Joe Burrow

Washington – Chase Young

Detroit – CB Jeffrey Okudah. Quinn could also go with Auburn’s Derrick Brown or Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons.

NY Giants – OT Jedrick Willis. Joe Judge, Giants new head coach, told Dave Gettleman he wanted to run the ball and stop the run. LT Nate Solder has an out in his contract and has not played up to expectations. Willis was an excellent run blocker while also thriving in pass pro at Alabama.

Miami – QB Tua Tagovailoa. No reason not to move forward with Tagovailoa here. The Dolphins have plenty of holes, and an opportunity to draft a true franchise Quarterback in Tua.

LA Chargers – OL Andrew Thomas. Thomas represents a true upgrade for one of the league’s lowest performing offensive lines. Isaiah Simmons could go here, the Chargers need linebacker help.

Carolina – LB Isaiah Simmons. Simmons can help the Panthers replace the recently retired Luke Kuechly. Cam Newton still has one season left on his contract, the Panthers would be wise to keep him on until they know they have a suitable successor to the crown. Simmons is known as a jack of all trades, rushing the passing, dropping deep into coverage, stopping the run. His services will be appreciated in Charlotte.

Arizona – WR Jerry Jeudy. The top wide receiver prospect in the class, Larry Fitzgerald can mentor Jeudy to become Kyler’s new number one receiver.

Jacksonville – CB Kristian Fulton. Jacksonville’s defense struggled in 2019, they also traded away disgruntled starter Jalen Ramsey. Fulton should compete at CB1 right away. Fulton was an important part of a Tigers defense that controlled, Alabama, OU, and Clemson this season.

Cleveland – DE A.J. Epenesa. The Browns don’t currently have a GM. Epenesa’s a damn fine pass rusher.

NY Jets – WR Ceedee Lamb. Lamb is a burner and the Jets need weapons for Darnold.

Las Vegas – DE Curtis Weaver. Gruden is known for his hope-obliterating defense from his time in Tampa Bay. The 49ers did not shy away from overstuffing their pass-rusher cabinet and it worked out well for them. This feels like a Gruden pick to me.

Indianapolis – QB Justin Herbert. Herbert’s posted a top career at Oregon. He has a lot of measurables teams like; height, strong arm, mobility.

Tampa Bay – DL Derrick Brown. Brown played in a 3 man front at Auburn, and he’s the top interior defensive lineman in the class.

Denver – DB Grant Delpit. A top coverage safety, Delpit should help Denver adjust to an aging Kareem Jackson and Chris Harris.

Atlanta – OL Tristan Wirfs. Their third offensive linemen in two first rounds, Wirfs could move to guard or play tackle at the next level.

Dallas – WR Henry Ruggs. Amari Cooper may be on his way out. Ruggs showed rare speed at Alabama.

Miami (through Pitt) OL Alex Leatherwood. Tua’s blindside protector at Alabama. Leatherwood has franchise tackle potential.

Las Vegas (through Chi) WR Tee Higgins. Gruden and Mayock drafted a lot from the title game in ’18. Higgins is ultra efficient when he’s on the field and brings a huge wingspan. He can take over WR1 responsibilities from Tyrell Williams who’s more suited to be a WR2.

Jacksonville (through LA Rams) – OL Netane Muti. Doug Marrone remains the head coach at Jacksonville. They will rebuild their defense and recommit to running the ball.

Philadelphia – CB CJ Henderson – Henderson dominated in the few targets he received in 2019. The Eagles have absolutely no defensive backs it seems.

Buffalo – WR Laviska Shenault – Shenault moves the ball forward like Deebo Samuel. His skillset matches well with Josh Allen’s limitations as a passer.

New England – DT Javon Kinlaw – A true pocket disruptor, Belichick will find ways to use Javon Kinlaw in New England.

New Orleans – TE Jared Pinkney – The Saints need real weapons for Brees outside of Michael Thomas. Pinkney is a ‘Big WR’ tight end that Brees will appreciate having.

Minnesota – CB Bryce Hall – The Vikings still need help at defensive back. Hall has been a top cover corner, he just needs to stay healthy.

Miami (through Houston) – CB Trevon Diggs – Flores will want to flesh out the back end of his defense. Diggs handled bigger receivers well starting at Alabama.

Seattle – S Ashtyn Davis – Davis is a rangy safety at Cal who can help mend a hole-filled defense in Seattle. The folks at PFF compared him to Darnell Savage, who had a strong rookie season.

Baltimore – CB A.J. Terrell – The Ravens dominating offense made up for their uncharacteristically underwhelming defensive play this season. Peters had a great slate of games in 2019, but he’s been very up and down his whole career. Terrell started for Clemson and has great size.

Wild Card Weekend reactions

Posted: January 5, 2020 in Football, New entries, NFL

The Houston/Buffalo game was much closer than I anticipated. Buffalo pressured Houston well and did a great job forcing over time. Brian Daboll does a great job of minimizing Allen’s weaknesses letting him throw the ball deep when John Brown and Co. got open. I think of Mike McCoy crafting an offense for Tim Tebow in Denver back in ’11 when watching Allen play. Josh Allen is having the season I kind of expected Lamar Jackson to have. Houston saw DeShaun Watson pull some absolute rabbits out of his hat against the second best (points allowed) defense in football. Watson was sacked SIX times, three by Jerry Hughes. The Texans go on the road to Arrowhead stadium and face the Chiefs next week.

Derrick Henry ran New England into the ground.

The New England Patriots only scored 13 points in a home game. The following names were on the Patriots roster in 2019: five time pro bowl wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, seven time pro bowler Antonio Brown, Josh Gordon (with an average yards per reception of over 17), tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins (one of the top tight ends in free agency). The Patriots finished the season with Julian Edelman, Philip Dorsett, and a pair of struggling rookies at wide receiver. The Nashville side of the story for this game revolved around Derrick Henry inflicting his will upon the New England defense. Henry accounted for over 200 yards from scrimmage for Tennessee. Tennessee travels to M&T Bank Stadium to challenge John Harbaugh, Lamar Jackson and the NFL-best Baltimore Ravens.

Vikings/Saints

The Vikings WON a football game against a winning team oh_well

The Vikings defense performed well at containing the Saints throughout the whole game. Vikings running back Dalvin Cook got going with 130 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. The Saints lack of receiving weapons bit them in the butt. Alvin Kamara, who was heavily used in 2018, hasn’t been featured in the gameplan with either the same success, or to the same extent. The game boiled down to an overtime play where “anti”-clutch Kirk Cousins tossed a 3rd down ball to Kyle Rudolph who reached over his man and kept Minnesota alive past wild card weekend. Minnesota travels to Levi’s Stadium to play the number one seed 49ers (NFC). This Vikings team looked UNIMPRESSIVE during the regular season, a playoff win against a heavyweight like the Saints is a statement win for Zimmer’s program. Cousins didn’t play amazing, but he didn’t turn the ball over and literally threw the game winning touchdown.

Seahawks/Eagles

These two teams played earlier this year. The Eagles QB was healthy the whole game, and the score ended 17-9, Seahawks with the W. Today, Carson Wentz went down with injury, and the Seahawks won, 17-9. Seattle will now travel to Green Bay and face a relatively healthy roster with a MEAN defense.

UNSUNG HERO OF THE PLAYOFFS: BYU’s number 5 all time rusher, Taysom Hill threw a 50 yard pass, ran for 50 yards on 4 touches, and caught two passes for 25 yards including one for a touchdown. It took Drew Brees over seven completions to match Hill’s 50 yards passing.

Song of the day: Sugar, we’re going down swinging (’80s version) Fall Out Boy

Week 17 picks

Posted: December 27, 2019 in Football, New entries, NFL

TB at ATL – Tampa Bay. Both the Falcons and the Bucs are 5-2 over their last seven games, an impressive turnaround for two dumpster-tier teams in the first half of the season. Tampa won game 1 in Atlanta and will be motivated to show they’re improving after a 7-9 2018 season. Tampa has home field advantage, they won game 1, and they have more reason to “win” this game than the Falcons. I also like Bruce Arians as an in game play-caller more than Quinn.

Miami at New England – New England. If Tom starts, the Patriots win at home.

Chicago at Minnesota – Minnesota

LAC at Kansas City – Kansas City

Green Bay at Detroit – Green Bay. Detroit actually got robbed by some bad refereeing in their first matchup, so this might actually be an interesting game. The Packers are just a much more stable team than Detroit.

Cleveland at Cincinnati – Cleveland. The browns have the best running back going up against the worst run defense in football.

New Orleans at Carolina – New Orleans. Another Will Grier game.

Jets at Buffalo – Buffalo. Neither of these teams “NEED” this win. Buffalo’s still more talented and playing better defense. At home.

Arizona at Rams – Rams. The Rams now have to ensure their first round picks remain low to justify their Jalen Ramsey trade. Sean McVay is a top coach and wins more than he loses, even after a rough missed playoffs season.

Oakland at Denver – Oakland. Drew Lock has posted one crazy strong performance against Houston and three bad or worse performances against the Chargers, Chiefs, and Lions. The Raiders have an outside chance to be a six seed if they win this game. I’m betting Denver won’t be able to get Drew Lock going this week, and Oakland will 2-0 Denver this year.

Philadelphia at Giants – Philadelphia. The Giants have zero defense. Doug Pederson just has to beat the Giants for the NFC East crown.

IND at JAX – Indianapolis. The Jaguars have a bottom five rushing defense, the Colts bread and butter. Gardner Minshew has played very unbalanced football since his benching for Nick Foles.

Tennessee at Houston. Houston. The king of ugly wins, Bill O’Brien beat a competitive Titans team in Nashville earlier this year. The Titans look a little better on paper but have lost two more games than Houston.

Washington at Dallas – Dallas. The Cowboys tend to play their worst on the road. Washington is also VERY BAD at football this year.

Pittsburgh at Baltimore – Pittsburgh. Lamar Jackson will not be playing. But Steelers HC Mike Tomlin will still be coaching week 17.

San Francisco at Seattle – SAN FRANCISCO. I am too biased and cannot be trusted. F*** THEM BIRDS

Last week I was 11-5 on predictions. A few misses of mine were the Patriots losing at home to the Chiefs, the Saints losing at home to the 49ers, and Denver? Winning?? (What a time to be alive) I WAS right about the Falcons beating the Panthers. Dan Quinn may save his job if the Falcons win enough games this final stretch.

THURSDAY GAME:

NY Jets at Baltimore. Baltimore. This is a matchup of the number one rushing attack (Baltimore) against the number one rushing defense (Jets). I expect this to be a low scoring game, Gregg Williams is a respectable defensive coordinator and should force Lamar to throw more than he is used to. The Jets bottled up Josh Allen and Daniel Jones fairly well this year (the only dual threat QBs they faced this season). Not that they have the offensive firepower or ground game to make it matter. Ravens win.

SUNDAY GAMES:

New England at Cincinnati. New England. The Patriots offense is dysfunctional enough this might be a one score game. Hopefully they got enough gametape of the Bengals sideline to figure it out.

Tampa Bay at Detroit. Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay is 4-1 in their last five games. Lions 3rd string QB David Blough has been up and down in his time with Detroit, looking impressive against Dallas and really not impressive against Minnesota. Jameis won’t have to really deal with the cold Michigan weather as Detroit has a dome stadium.

Houston at Tennessee. Tennessee. I spent a lot of time on this one. It’s tough to ignore the Texans win over New England. Tennessee is playing better defense, and Ryan Tannehill has performed like an elite QB since taking over in Nashville. The Titans own the turnover ratio (+5 Titans vs -1 Texans) and have home field advantage. If the Texans win I believe it will be because Vrabel can’t defend against Watson as a dual threat. FUN FACT: Both these teams beat the 9-4 Chiefs and lost to the 5-8 Broncos.

Denver at Kansas City Kansas City. I’m excited for this game, I believe Denver has a real chance to win with Drew Lock coming off a strong performance against Houston. Kansas City owns the turnover differential, has homefield advantage, and dropped 30 points on Denver’s defense last time they played, and that was with 19 passes thrown by backup Matt Moore at QB. Watch for Drew Lock to post another strong performance as his on field chemistry with Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant and the rest of the offense develops. We haven’t seen enough of Drew Lock and Rich Schangarello to definitively say what the offense will look like week in and week out.

Miami at New York Giants Giants. I’m going with Eli and the Giants kind of good receiving corps can be more productive than Fitzpatrick and Parker, Gesicki, etc.

Philadelphia at Washington Eagles. What a trainwreck. I guess pick the Eagles. Derrius Guice just got hurt.

Seattle at Carolina Seattle. Carolina couldn’t beat a drum right now.

Chicago at Green Bay Green Bay. The first game between Packers/Bears was actually close. Trubisky’s been too inconsistent to rely on. The Packers are the more balanced team and have home field advantage.

Minnesota at LA Chargers Minnesota. The Chargers had a feel good win against the apparently hapless Jaguars. This may be Doug Marrone’s last season in Jacksonville after failing to capitalize on a pretty open AFC south. Kirk Cousins is getting Adam Thielen back. The Vikings have a pretty easy win here.

Jacksonville at Oakland Oakland The Jags will use these remaining games to really see what they have in Minshew. Jacksonville’s defense really hasn’t performed up to the usual standard. The Jaguars 2nd to last run defense should be easy pickin’s for a strong Oakland run blocking group even if they don’t have Josh Jacobs in the lineup.

Cleveland at Arizona Cleveland This should be a close game. Baker gets a confidence booster against the last ranked Cardinals passing defense. The Browns defense is actually respectable and will keep Murray on his toes this game.

LA Rams at Dallas Dallas I see the Cowboys early and often challenging Wade Phillips defense. Cooper, Gallup, and Cobb should challenge the Rams deep secondary. The Rams have struggled most with very capable offenses. Dallas is admittedly unstable but can score against middle of the pack defenses. I think the Rams will struggle to contain Lawrence and the Cowboys finally win a game.

Atlanta at San Francisco San Francisco I’m not entirely convinced the Falcons WANT to win this game. Potential trap game for San Francisco if they don’t take Atlanta seriously. Falcons beat the Panthers twice and the Saints in New Orleans. The more talented team should safely win here.

Buffalo at Pittsburgh Buffalo This might be my game of the week. The Steelers are surprisingly competitive winning games on defense and a dominant turnover ratio (+12). They will have to defend a dual threat QB in Allen and play an equally tough defense with the Bills still healthy. I see the main difference in this contest the Steelers inability to consistently run the ball or even pass at a high level. The Bills can run and Allen is respectable at finding the open man. The Bills by one possession.

MONDAY NIGHT:

Indianapolis at New Orleans New Orleans The Saints boast an impressive +11 turnover ratio, a top five run defense, and homefield advantage. The Colts have become a running team. Sean Payton doesn’t lose too many of these.

 

THE LOVE TRAIN HAS ARRIVED

Utah State Aggie Jordan Love had a terrific 2018 season and returned to school with a pretty NOT GREAT year in ’19. While it’s not too late to change his mind, Love has declared he will enter the NFL draft. I’m not convinced he is ready to step in and change a franchise in the next 12 months. All of this being considered, NFL teams tend to buy on a prospects highs and ignore their lows. Former Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg was a second round pick for the Jets. Hackenberg famously never became anything in the NFL after having a strong sophomore year before two bad college seasons. The QB class after Tua gets murky, and that is exactly where Love stands to gain the most. NFL voices have mixed feelings on potential draftees like Jake Fromm, Justin Herbert, and K.J. Costello. A team in need of finding an heir apparent at QB bit missing a first round pick, like, Chicago, could talk themselves into drafting Love in the second round if they get a bad case of FOMO. Love’s been described as a raw prospect with high upside but needing some fine tuning. Generally QB prospects described as raw can’t transition to the next level. Mahomes was one of the ‘raw’ prospects who was able to put it all together. I expect Love will end up in a situation similar to Rosen’s, passers not taken in the first round rarely get a fair shot at proving their worth in the NFL.

Song of the blog is Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken (Acoustic) played to clips of Todd Phillips Joker. It’s the best thing I’ve seen for a long time. Joker, while an uncomfortable watch, was the best film of 2019.