Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Donald’

It’s been a wild 12 months in NFL Land. Many stories have flown under the radar because of all of Covid, Deshaun Watson, Tompa Bay, etc. I want to touch on some of the more recent developments that I believe will become real storylines once the 2021 season starts.

Philadelphia Eagles signed Wake Forest passer Jamie Newman as an undrafted free agent. Newman was an early draft favorite entering the 2020 college football season before curiously opting out of the 2020 season after transferring to Georgia. The Eagles will want to see what they have in Jalen Hurts in ’21 season, but would be foolish not to give Newman some snaps in the preseason to see what he looks in some kind of competitive environment. Newman earned praise for his huge arm and mobility at Wake Forest.

Vikings draft Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond in 3rd round, may supplant veteran starter Kirk Cousins if Cousins experiences another rough stretch. The Vikings owe Kirk a substantial amount of money so cutting or trading him seems out of the question for two more season, but that’s what I thought about Carson Wentz and Philadelphia. The Vikings attempted to trade up, possibly for Justin Fields.

Carolina Panthers signed Northwestern standout linebacker Paddy Fisher. Fisher’s best performances came in his earlier years (2017, 2018). Fisher has ideal size (6’4″, 240) and was a 4 year starter at Northwestern. The undrafted free agent joins a young, aggressive panthers defense.

Balitimore signed undrafted free agent Kenji Bahar, 5 year quarterback out of FCS Monmouth University. Briefly watching some of his plays, Bahar has a big arm and can send the ball far with seemingly little effort. Bahar was clearly underrecruited at Monmouth. Ravens do a great job of sniffing out underrated talent every year. It’s not likely Bahar will see the field barring a Lamar Jackson injury, he may be worth a watch if he gets on the field in preseason. Bahar didn’t have the most complex defenses in the FCS, but showed solid fundamentals and a strong arm and if he can develop anywhere, would develop in Baltimore. Bahar has athleticism, but did most of his damage through the air.

Lovie Smith has returned to the NFL, as the defensive coordinator for the Texans. Lovie went 81-63 as the Bears head coach, including a super bowl berth with literal Human Garbage Rex Grossman. The Bears haven’t had a good coach since. Unless you want to include Matt “8-8” Nagy. If nothing else, Smith will maximize the remaining talent on the stripped Texans defense.

Unless something changes, New Orleans is plowing ahead with Jameis Winston as their presumptive starter for 2021. I believed Jameis would stop in town for New Orleans on his way to a new destination like Chicago or Jacksonville. The Saints were comfortable drafting other positions early in the draft and moving forward with Jameis and Hill. With Brees’ retirement, Winston is the next man up. New Orleans drafted Notre Dame Senior Ian Book in the fourth round, who will have an opportunity to show off his moves to Sean Payton and the Saints brass. Book had a solid if unspectacular career in South Bend, maybe New Orleans’ Jarrett Stidham. This will be the first time since 2005 that the Saints will open the regular season without Drew Brees as their starting QB.

The Eagles offensive line, once among the most dominant in the league has been an injured mess for the past two seasons. Philadelphia has had multiple holes in their roster, choosing to draft DeVonta Smith over RaShawn Slater in round one. Overall they drafted one interior offensive lineman (Landon Dickerson, Alabama C) and signed two UDFAs, Harry Crider (Indiana C), and Kayode Awosika (Buffalo OT) to compete for a role if they are injury plagued yet again. New head coach Nick Sirianni had an elite group of blockers as the offensive coordinator at Indianapolis and will likely need the same in Philadelphia to execute any kind of game plan.

Notable free agents include: OT Morgan Moses, CB Richard Sherman, FS Earl Thomas, DE/OLB Melvin Ingram, OT Mitchell Schwartz, C Austin Reiter, OLB Justin Houston.

Adam Gase is somehow not an NFL head coach, nor an Alabama offensive coordinator
STOLEN IMAGE ALERT: Liberty QB Malik Willis has caught the eye of some high level talent evaluators, including Jordan Reid who described Willis as having “arm arrogance.” Under Willis, Liberty went 10-1, their only loss a 14-15 game against NC State.
Aaron Donald looks like he is part of an advanced humanoid species that will kill and eat the current batch of genetically fat, lazy and generally inferior human beings.
Iowa State’s Matt Campbell reportedly turned down a gigantasaurus contract to be the Detroit Lions head coach.
Gardner Minshew has a nice headband, but no one cares. 😦

It will be okay.

Song of the post is Adventure Club remix of MS MR’s “Hurricane”

It’s futile to try and predict which players will land a starting role for their football clubs, never mind trying to predict who will get close to earning a Rookie of the Year award after the draft. Never mind doing so before the draft. So I’m going to do just that.

OROTY candidates

Brandin Cooks, Oregon State Wide Receiver – Cooks looks like he’ll fall in the sweet spot of good teams in the first round. Probably in the 20-29 position range. A team like Philadelphia, Carolina, Kansas City, or San Francisco could draft the player and see him quickly become a huge part of the offense. Cooks could endear himself to his new QB early with his impressive footwork and end up as OROTY.

Terrance West, Towson RB – Terrance West has populated so many “underrated players in the draft” that at this point he’s probably considered one of the top backs in the draft league wide. West’s low center of gravity (5’9″) and solid build (225 lbs) combined with his above average combine performance could make him a slightly under the radar back heading into the draft for scouts looking mainly at Bishop Sankey, Carlos Hyde, Jeremy Hill, and Tre Mason. West scored over forty touchdowns in 2013 at Towson and looks to make an immediate impact at the next level.

Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin Wide Receiver – Abbrederis was a successful w̶h̶i̶t̶e̶  possession receiver at the University of Wisconsin renowned for his route-running by NFL scouts. Abbrederis is what Bill Belichick might call a “football player” in that scouts like him for how he performs at his position instead of his size, strength, or speed. Hard working guys who can catch the football tend to adapt to the league better than “projects” or “physical specimens” when given a chance. Abbrederis won’t get drafted until rounds three or four but could carve out an important role on an offense quickly given his dedication to gametape study and soft hands. 

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M QB – The last time Manziel started for a new football team he brought Texas A&M into the toughest division in College Football with an 11-2 record including a huge Bowl Game victory against a mean Oklahoma Football team. And he won the Heisman Trophy that season. Manziel’s proven that while he does have the feet to get it done on the ground, he doesn’t have to rely on his scrambling. Manziel showed in his sophomore campaign he can make plays through the air and lead his team to victory. If Manziel gets the chance to start in 2014, he can quickly become one of the best rookies ever to play the game.

DROTY Candidates

Calvin Pryor, Louisville FS – Pryor is a natural athlete and even if he gets drafted by, say, St. Louis, he joins a star-studded defense ready to start immediately. Pryor may benefit by going to a team such as St. Louis or Kansas City who already has established talent in the secondary. Pryor’s top level play including an interception of master-QB Blake Bortles shows his opportunistic style of play.

Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois SS – Ward’s size suggests he will move to free safety. His play suggests he can create turnovers with seven interceptions in 2013. Coaches and GM’s understand how important turnover ratio is for a team’s success. If Ward can join a roster that maximizes his ball-hawking abilities he can make the shortlist for DROTY.

C.J. Mosley, Alabama ILB – Mosley benefits by being really the only first-round caliber inside linebacker in the draft. Ryan Shazier could move to the inside but Mosley has big game experience playing ILB at Alabama. Mosley’s stock’s dropped so that he may join a roster like Philadelphia, New Orleans, or Denver in 2014. Teams of those caliber will give Mosley lots of opportunities to create turnovers or otherwise make big plays. Mosley is a fierce defender looking to join a playoff team in need of an interior enforcer.

Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh DT – Donald will likely play exactly the same position in the NFL as he did in College. A position he played very well. Donald’s gameplay at Pitt and physical production at the combine show off his hard work overcoming a shorter frame. If given the chance to start Donald can start wreaking havoc on interior linemen and opposing QBs from week one.