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[Sports] - Is Ohio State’s Chase Young a smart bet at 20-1 to win the Heisman? Plus our Week 10 college football picks against the spread. | Chicago Tribune
[Sports] - Is Ohio State’s Chase Young a smart bet at 20-1 to win the Heisman? Plus our Week 10 college football picks against the spread.
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Breakout candidates for 2020 – Defense edition
submitted by hallach_halil to nfl [link] [comments]
I started this exercise of choosing second- and third-year players in the NFL I expect to take the next step in their development, based on being in a better situation due schematic changes, the respective team not re-signing certain veterans and allowing their young guys to play a bigger role or just my evaluation of them coming out of college.
Once again, my criteria was – they were not allowed to have a Pro Bowl so far, reached a major statistical milestone (1000 yard season, double-digit sacks, etc.) or are just looked at generally as one of the better players at their position already. I didn’t include guys that made my list already last year (Kemoko Turay, Justin Reid, etc.) or haven’t seen the field at all yet (Jonah Williams, Hakeem Butler, etc.). Across my two articles on these breakout players, you will only find one top ten pick, since I believe those are obvious choices anyway, if those guys just haven’t been healthy or whatever it may be.
In this version, we are looking at eight more defensive players ready to break out in 2020 after talking about offense
last week already:
When I did these write-ups, I actually realized later on that Odenigbo was originally drafted in 2017 in the seventh round by the Vikings, but he only made the practice squad that year and was later claimed and waived by the Cardinals and Browns respectively. So since he finally made an active roster in 2018 and that’s when he finally saw the field, I thought he still qualifies. With all those guys Minnesota has had on the D-line in recent years, it was a challenge for Odenigbo to get their coaches to believe in him, having only played in one game for Arizona before last season. However, he was on the field more and more towards the end of this past year and with little investment in the draft into the front, the Vikings are betting on him to continue to develop, similar to what happened with Pro Bowler Danielle Hunter. Odenigbo recorded seven sacks and tackles for loss respectively, while adding another 18 pressures to the mix. He also forced a fumble and returned another one for a long touchdown against the Chargers, while he was actually called down on another scoop-and-score, where he originally got the trifecta (strip sack, fumble recovery and return TD). That is much more impressive putting it into context, as he played just a third of the defensive snaps. Now with Everson Griffen off the roster (unless he somehow decides to re-sign with the Vikes, Odenigbo is almost a shoe-in for that second defensive end spot in the starting lineup.
Number 95 was mostly used in passing situations, especially early on, as three quarters of the snaps he played came on pass-rushing downs, and Mike Zimmer used his inside-out flexibility on different sub-packages. Odenigbo was asked to line up anywhere from pretty much 2i in sort of a track stance pointed inside to a wide nine alignment. His favorite (and best) move at this point is the dip and rip, but he also flashes a nice up-and-under combined with a high swim move. However, he also has a lot of power behind those pads, as he set up one of his teammates as the initial slanter versus Detroit and just flattened a guy I talked about in my offensive edition of this breakdown last week already in Frank Ragnow. In addition to that, I think the Vikings DE already shows good timing and execution on twists, freeing himself up by using teammates appropriately. As he seems to be transitioning to a starting role, the biggest question now is – How much improvement can he show as a run-defender? He displays very good pursuit coming unblocked from the backside, but at the point of attack he has some issues holding his ground at times, due to not always playing half the man and getting drawn in and allowing cutback lanes. In the pass game, Odenigbo needs to work on being more successful on secondary maneuvers and not give away opportunities if that initial rush stalls.
Leading up to the 2018 NFL draft, Bradley Chubb was considered the clear-cut number one edge rusher coming out of N.C. State and after him most people said there was a huge drop-off. The Saints however shocked everybody by trading up to the 14th overall pick – not for a quarterback, but rather an outside linebacker from UTSA. While there isn’t a lot of buzz around Davenport entering year three of his pro career, I can promise that New Orleans did not spend their 2018 and ’19 first-round picks on a player they didn’t believe in. I was very surprised at the time of selection, because I thought they were looking for a more immediate-impact type of player with Drew Brees arriving in his 40s and the team coming off a 13-3 record, but there was never any question about the talent this kid presented. Davenport has missed three games in each of his first two years in the league and “only” put up 10.5 sacks, but he went from 28 QB pressures as a rookie to 50 last season. He might have been even better against the run, helping the Saints finish as the fourth-best rush defense at 91.3 yards allowed per game. So this is kind of a case for the improvement he has already made and I think the coaches in New Orleans already looked at 2019 as his breakout season, but among more casual fans, I believe Davenport will move his name into more of the conversation as one of the better young edge rushers this year.
I personally had the young phenom as my 13th overall prospect coming out of San Antonio. When you put on his tape in college, that combination of explosiveness, power and closing burst really stood out. He already flashed the ability to string his hand together to dominate as a pass-rusher, but he needed to do it more consistently, and he showed the shock in his hands to own the point of attack, if he played with better extension. Those to me were certainly coachable areas and with the situation he was in, I thought he could produce in year two or three. Well, we have arrived at his third season and I believe he is ready to roll. I don’t think there’s much to critique as a run-defender about Davenport. He may still be a tick late recognizing some schemes, but when he extends those arms and drops the anchor, you won’t see much movement and he just owns tight-ends. In the pass game, I do believe he needs to broaden his repertoire a little and rush under a little more control, but he has clearly shown signs of becoming a difference-maker in that area as well. He has burst to win around the edge if he times his swipes up correctly, but also the immense power to bull-rush big offensive tackles back right into the quarterback’s lap. If he just learns to convert speed to power a little better and works on finishing that under-and-under he flashes with a follow-through chop, he could be scary. With third-round pick Zack Baun probably rushing outside on sub-packages, it will enable the Saints to move this guy and Cam Jordan more inside and create mismatches that way.
Simmons was the 19th overall pick for Tennessee last year. In his debut game he had three pressures on eleven pass-rushing snaps. The rest of the season wasn’t as promising, but considering I didn’t expect him to suit up at all in 2019 after tearing his ACL in pre-draft workouts, the fact he did collect valuable on-field experience, playing less than 40 percent of the defensive snaps just once from that point on, only helps him more. Purely based off his tape, I had Simmons as my IDL3, behind only Quinnen Williams and Ed Oliver (both top five prospects for me) and ahead of the two Clemson standouts (Christian Wilkins and Dexter Williams). I even said without the injury he would have been at least around the top ten when I put out my big board a few days ahead of last year’s draft. In limited playing time as a rookie, he recorded 32 tackles, four of them for loss and two sacks. Simmons was an immovable object at Mississippi State and looked to be the same among grown men. I went back and watched the Raiders game in week 14, who have some maulers in the run game and you saw guys almost bounce off the rookie as if he was a brick wall. More importantly, they doubled him on pretty much every single snap he was on the field, probably because of what they had already seen on tape.
This guy has some shock in his hands, the ability to look through the blocker on zone-runs and then get back to the gap behind him as the running back decides to cut up into it. He didn’t look as mobile working his way down the line laterally as I thought he did in college and he will have to do a better job working across the face of some blockers, rather than allowing them to wall him off at times. You see him just be a split-second late of actually stopping the ball-carrier rather than allowing him to stumble forward or barely miss altogether. If he gets back to his collegiate form, he can be an elite run-stopper. Having him out there will allow the Titans to run primarily sub-packages with Harold Landry and now Vic Beasley on the edges. The area he still needs to prove himself at is getting after the quarterback. Simmons is very straight-forward as a pass-rusher and didn’t show a lot of finesse to win in that area, getting stuck with stalemates for the most part if he couldn’t drive his guy backwards initially. He flashed a few quick wins on reps with the arm-over, but he has to get off the ball with more of a plan. I believe his ability to shoot upfield, the unbelievable power and just that disruptive style of play will show up big time in his first year at full strength.
This young man was my fourth overall prospect in last year’s draft behind only Quinnen Williams, Nick Bosa and Josh Allen (the edge rusher). Oliver was an uber-talented, explosive athlete coming out Houston, who I think is still learning the game to some degree. He came in as a freshman with the Cougars and immediately dominated, recording 22 tackles for loss and being named First Team All-American – an honor he would repeat his two other years there as well. While it was obviously a transition from the AAC, where he was just so superior to everybody else physically, compared to lining up against professionals every single week, I thought he started flashing more and more as his rookie season progressed. And while Jordan Phillips just put up double-digit sacks for Buffalo and got a big deal from the Cardinals in the process, I thought Oliver was already the Bills’ best interior pass rusher in December. Overall he recorded five sacks and TFLs each to go with 31 pressures on 374 pass-rushing snaps. That ratio may not be up there with some of the league’s best, but he definitely showed sparks on winning in that area and he finished up playing 53.7 percent of the snaps on defense overall, as part of a deep rotation.
Coming out of Houston a year ago, it was clear Oliver needed some time to adjust to the NFL, after he was playing at the nose mostly in college and not having to stay true to his run fits all the time. While there are still moments where his pad-level gets too high and I feel like he is a tick late recognizing the run scheme, at 287 pounds his anchor is excellent and he has the ability to chase down plays laterally. In the pass game his natural power and quickness present problems for the opposition. What really stands out as well is he flexibility he possesses, as can be knocked from the side and somehow regain his balance to keep going and even if he ends up outside his pass-rush lane, he just continues to work. Something Oliver does really well already, which will give him a couple of “easy” sacks in 2020 is set up his loops to the outside on a twist, staying tight and aiming at the outside shoulder of the guard before pivoting outside suddenly. As a rookie, he had his issues going up against the better-schooled guards in the league, especially trying to beat the Steelers’ Ramon Foster and David DeCastro, who landed their hands inside his chest early and Oliver couldn’t gain an advantage. If he can work on being a little more pro-active and rushes the passer with more of a plan overall, I think he could be a Pro Bowler in year two.
A four-year starter at Wisconsin, Edwards recorded 366 tackles over the course of his career and made several impact plays for the Badgers. Unfortunately he could not participate in any on-field drills at the 2019 NFL combine due to a banged up ankle and if you can trust his pro day results, his athleticism is still below-average. Labelled as a classic college linebacker with limitations to translate his game to the next level, Edwards ultimately went undrafted and signed with the Eagles. As a rookie, he mostly made an impact on special teams, with nine combined tackles on punt and kickoff coverage. He only played 11 percent of the defensive snaps, but when he was on the field, he earned close to an elite grade by Pro Football Focus and got involved on another 21 tackles. When you divide those 122 snaps by the amount of tackles he recorded, that actually gives him the highest tackle rate of any player at the position with at least 100 snaps played. In his first year under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, he was mainly utilized on early downs to stop the run, as he was on the field for 89 run downs compared to only 33 pass plays.
That is somewhat understandable, since you just have to love his oldschool mind-set in the frame of a well-built, strong guy. Edwards aggressively shoots downhill on inside runs and drops the shoulder on lead-blockers trying to move him out of there, actually stonewalling some of those guys and creating traffic jams that way. At the same time, he shows enough patience with combo-blocks in front of him to not just give away free cutback lanes by overrunning plays, keeping bouncy feet as he deciphers what he sees in the backfield. He offers a sturdy base to absorb the contact by offensive linemen climbing up to him and keeps them at extension, while also showing the mobility to mirror pullers and beat them to the spot. Then he really brings some thump at initial contact on tackles to stop the forward momentum and missed only one attempt on the year (on special teams). It is kind of funny how Edwards was labelled a pure run-stopper because of some athletic limitations, when he actually intercepted ten passes and broke up another 15, while adding eight sacks throughout his career at Wisconsin. He may never be a candidate to shadow more dynamic backs or tight-ends one-on-one, but his feel in zone and ability to get involved as a blitzer should keep him on the field for third downs more. Edwards is also quick to recognize play-action and turn his head for potential crossers behind him before swiveling back towards the quarterback. I believe Edwards will be an excellent replacement for Zach Brown at MIKE, who left in free agency. There are some questions about linebacker trio with Duke Riley and Nathan Gerry, Jatavis Brown or Davion Taylor, but Edwards should be a fixture in the middle on first and second down at least.
Murphy was my number one corner heading into the 2019 draft ahead of guys like Greedy Williams and DeAndre Baker and he was the first pick in round two. While he started all 16 games for Arizona and missed less than 30 snaps the entire season, I think barely anybody really knows about or watched this guy play for the Cardinals as rookie. There were definitely some learning experiences early on and if you look at the total yards and touchdowns allowed, it’s not a beautiful sight and 78 total tackles for any corner aren’t a great sign either. However, a lot of that had to do with the 105 targets coming his way (fourth-most by any player in the league) due to lining up on the opposite side of Patrick Peterson and the fact he was part of the 31st-ranked pass defense. I thought he improved every single week and he actually put up better marks in coverage than his running mate Peterson, despite being targeted at a much higher rate – 7.7 compared to 9.3 yards allowed per target. Murphy also intercepted one pass and broke up another ten.
What I loved about Murphy coming out of Washington last year was his innate feel in zone coverage with an outstanding ability to click-and-close and be a play-maker. He can flip his hips with ease and has that gliding speed to stay on top of routes, rarely allowing opponents to detach from him late. In the run game, Murphy does not shy away from getting involved as a tackler, arriving low and up-ending bigger ball-carriers routinely. You see him fill the D-gap or squeeze plays from the outside on several occasions. He also won’t allow bigger receivers to bully him as blockers, keeping them away from his frame and leveraging the ball accordingly. The rookie mostly played in the slot versus 11 personnel once Patrick Peterson returned in week seven last season and he was utilized as a blitzer off the edge a few times, where he chased running backs down from behind or got into the face of the opposing quarterback. He was heavily exhausted when he was moved in the slot and had to follow receivers back-and-forth across the formation on motions at times. The one thing Murphy really struggled with as a rookie was playing with his back towards the quarterback on slot fades and such as, where receivers could use subtle push-offs and win with their frame, as he almost purely face-guarded them and didn’t even try to snap his head around. The Cardinals have added a super-rangy player is Isaiah Simmons and beef up front to stop the run on early downs, in order to set up third-and-long situations. Allowing the now second-year player to focus more on his coverage and now with veteran Robert Alford being brought in as another outside corner, I see Murphy taking the next step in his developing. By the way, re-watching those Cardinals tapes – Budda Baker is just a freaking baller.
At the start of last year’s draft process, Ya-Sin wasn’t a huge name since he had only played one year at the FBS level for Temple. However, after he and now-49ers receiver Deebo Samuel went back and forth at the Senior Bowl, I started falling love with this guy and so did the scouting community. As a rookie with the Colts, wearing number 34 as the spot he was selected at, he started 13 of 15 games and played at least 93 percent of the snaps in ten of them. Ya-Sin was targeted on 15.2 percent of pass plays and he had some struggles, but he also improved a lot from the first to the second half of his debut campaign. There was one really rough showing versus one of the NFL’s young star receivers in Courtland Sutton, when he was penalized five times and was responsible for 75 receiving yards. However, the rest of the season he was called for defensive holding three times and for pass interference just once (40 total yards). That’s not too bad for a rookie who likes to get into the face of receivers and whose play-style out of college could be described as “grabby”. Over the final eight weeks, Ya-Sin held opposing QBs to a passer rating of just 75.8 and didn’t allow any touchdowns (after being responsible for two up to that point), while coming up with his first career pick.
Ya-Sin can be described is a very sticky, quick-footed corner. As a rookie, he primarily played outside and faced some tough matchups, while even being asked to travel with some of the game’s elite, such as Michael Thomas. While I’m not saying that always went great, his competitiveness is off the charts and I think he has all the tools to develop into an excellent cover-corner. Ya-Sin was rarely just caught out of position. It was more about struggling to find the ball down the field and panicking a little when he did overcommit initially. The more experience he had, the more comfortable he felt turning his head and making a play on the ball. I still love his competitiveness, rapid feet at the line, ability to read the hips of the receiver and use his length to get his hands on the ball. He had a few textbook reps, staying in phase with the receiver from press alignmenz on hitch or curl routes and knocking the pass down coming out of the break. I thought playing in year one, he was also a pretty good edge-setter in the run game and he didn’t just wait for the ball-carrier to cut back inside to stay clean. You saw him fight off blocks and try to cut down the guy with the ball. Now with Pierre Desir gone in free agency, I expect Ya-Sin to step into the spotlight as Indy’s true CB1. The Colts also brought in veteran Xavier Rhoades, who I thought looked broken down last season, but will help this kid grow mentally as well.
My top-rated safety from a year ago, I thought Adderley was a perfect match with Derwin James on the Chargers, because he has that range for a true deep middle safety to allow Derwin to roam and play more around the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately he had hamstring issues before even being drafted, which forced him to miss mandatory minicamp and most of training camp. He only appeared in one preseason game and then played 10 defensive snaps across four regular season games, making two pretty meaningless tackles, before the Chargers placed him on injured reserve. So with that little experience, Adderley barely meets my criteria, but he was active for four games and I want to grab the opportunity to talk about one of my favorites in last year’s draft. Coming out of Delaware, he filled the alley in the run game with the mind-set of a linebacker, while also showing the ability to cover ground to bail out his team-mates on the back-end. When the ball is completed in front of him, he punishes receivers and when it gets into his hand, he shows off his background as a kick returner, where we had one of the sickest plays I have ever seen, running an opponent over, staring him down and proceeding to go the end-zone.
Outside of some questions about the level of competition in the FCS and how much different he moved different than anybody else, I loved everything about his game. The one time we did actually see him play with pros – week four of the preseason – Adderley made one interception and deflected another three passes, while one of them should have been another pick, with a receiver knocking the ball out of his hands late, and he got both hands on another ball down the seams to deny a touchdown. You could see him show up outside the numbers against go-routes and cut in front of deep in-breaking routes, which led to the one INT he actually made. In addition to that, you saw him try to go underneath offensive linemen and be willing to take on some contact on screen plays, instead of staying back and avoiding collisions, getting involved late on scrums or jumping on the back of a receiver trying to catch the ball at the sideline. Now with Chris Harris added to the mix, Casey Hayward on the opposite side and Desmond King in the slot, with the guys they have up front to get after the passer, plus Derwin possibly being sent as a blitzer with his stupid closing burst, Adderley has the ability to gamble and make plays. Plus he gives them somebody who plays with an attitude, which I really appreciated going back to my evaluations coming out of college. Before he can become an impact player, he first needs to beat out Rayshawn Jenkins, but I’d be shocked if he wasn’t on the field for the majority of snaps.
Notable other names:
Mack Wilson & Sione Takitaki
If you enjoyed this content, I would really appreciate if you could visit the original piece (with video clips) - https://halilsrealfootballtalk.com/2020/06/03/breakout-candidates-for-2020-offense-edition/
You can also listen to my breakdown on Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KPNzxK-V_c
Defending the Draft 2020: Las Vegas Raiders
Season Review submitted by vicsage83 to NFL_Draft [link] [comments]
The final season of the Oakland Raiders and the second in Jon Gruden’s second tenure had a small dose of optimism. After a paltry 4 win season in 2018 the Raiders brought in NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock to be the new General Manager. While few of the free agents that the Raiders brought in were able to make a major impact, save Richie Incognito at Left Guard and Trent Brown at Right Tackle, many of the rookies brought in did. Josh Jacobs, Trayvon Mullen, Maxx Crosby, Hunter Renfrow, Foster Moreau, and Clelin Ferrell all saw significant snaps. Johnathan Abram was on his way to having a starter role but was lost for the season on week 1 due to a torn rotator cuff and labrum. There was also this whole Antonio Brown thing going on. I think it's safe to say that I don’t need to get into the details on that. However, Carr losing the best wide receiver he would have ever had to play with and whom a big chunk of the playbook was geared towards was a mighty bow to the Raiders offense.
When the schedule was released there was no question that the front half was brutal with 5 weeks straight of non-home games (4 away and 1 London). The optimism of a playoff berth in the Raiders final season in Oakland only grew when they made it through that stretch going into week 12 at 6-4. Sadly, that’s when the lack of depth and quality weapons started to rear its ugly head and the Raiders went on to win only 1 of their final 6 games including a dismal 4 game losing streak which had the Raiders getting blown out by the Jets, Chiefs, and Titans. In that stretch the Raiders managed to lose in the final game at the Oakland Coliseum to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Not Great. However, they managed to split the last two games of the year, ending the season at 7-9 and in 3rd place in the AFC West. Notable Pre-Draft Acquisitions Corey Littleton, LB, LAR (3 years, $35.25m, $22m G)
PFF Grade - 78.9 (8th of 89) Carl Nassib, DE, TB (3 years, $25.25m,$16.75m G)
To say that the Raiders have had a dearth of talent at linebacker over the past decade is an understatement. Such names like Perry Riley, Nick Roach and Will Compton have seemed like upgrades for our team. Not very inspiring. Mayock and Gruden clearly wanted to focus on improving this position and attacked the best linebacker on the market in Littleton. The Raiders have been victimized by tight ends and pass catching running backs and having an athletic coverage specialist like Littleton will only help the Raiders defense.
PFF Grade - 69.3 (43rd of 106) Nick Kwiatkoski, LB, CHI (3 years, $21m, $13.75m G)
Even with the additions of Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby in the 2019 draft the Raiders had a need at defensive end. Nassib gives the Raiders another long and high motor rusher who can hold the edge. Nassib may not be a high end player, but he’s going to be a valuable piece on the defensive line.
PFF Grade - 72.6 (15th of 89) Marcus Mariota, QB, TEN (2 years, $17.6m, $7.5m G)
The Raiders doubled down with linebackers by adding Kwiatkoski to pair with Littleton. The Raiders have since said that they are going to have Kwiatkoski wear the green dot on defense and playing MIKE. Kwiat may be lacking in starting experience but the Raiders are betting on his upside after showing out for Chicago this past season. The former Bear LB showed good coverage drops in conjunction with intelligence and physicality and should be a nice partner to Littleton.
PFF Grade - 64.3 (27th of 37) Maliek Collins, DL, DAL (1 year, $6m, $5.75m G)
It's no mystery that Raider Nation has a love/hate relationship with Derek Carr. While Carr is the unquestioned starter, Mariota will be there in case Carr is unable to play up to the standards of Gruden. Mariota still has good mobility for the position but the Raiders have been vocal about wanting to get him healthy first and foremost.
PFF Grade - 65.1 (65th of 115) Jason Witten, TE, DAL (1 year, $4m, $3.5m G)
One interesting move made by the Raiders this offseason was the hiring of Rod Marinelli (and letting go of Bretson Buckner). Marinelli made his influence and presence known with two signings, the first of which was for Maliek Collins (the other being Jeff Heath but I’m not gonna devote a ton of time to a backup safety/ST player). Collins is a solid interior pass rusher who still has his best years ahead of him. Jon Hankins is locked into our starting 1T role but the 3T is up for grabs between Collins and Mo Hurst, who ended 2019 very strongly.
PFF Grade - 59.4 (43rd of 67) Damarious Randall, S, CLE (1 year, $1.5m, $1.5m G)
Yes yes. Of course a Jon Gruden-led team spent $4m on a possible TE2. Overpay aside, Witten gives Carr another red zone threat and the Raiders TE room a role model professional again. It’s only a 1 year deal so this deal won’t be too impactful but anytime you can sign a former Monday Night Football broadcaster you gotta do it right?
PFF Grade - 69.3 (40th of 88) Major Needs Entering Draft
The Raiders secondary was not good in 2019. They attempted to fix this by signing Byron Jones but Miami got him for more guaranteed money. They tried for Chris Harris Jr but he liked the fit of the Chargers deal. They even agreed to terms with Eli Apple but that fell apart due to medical issues. Once that happened they used some of that money to bring in Randall, who will compete with Erik Harris to play FS.
The Raiders entered draft day with 2 major needs, wide receiver and cornerback. They also needed depth all over the defense, especially at running back and linebacker. There was continuing talk of quarterback but despite the signing of Mariota there were still rumblings of a Jalen Hurts or Jordan Love selection. Las Vegas Raiders 2020 Draft Round 1 (12th Overall) - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
5-11, 185lbs ---- Junior ---- PFF Grade: 75.0 Round 1 (19th Overall) - Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
Team Fit: Wide receiver was the clear need for the Las Vegas Raiders coming into draft night. With their pick of the top 3 wide outs in the class they went for the one with the best athletic profile and that was Henry Rugs III. Ruggs should be able to start very quickly for the Raiders and gives Derek Carr an explosive weapon who can win in numerous ways. Mayock also brought up how Ruggs could possibly return kicks and use that 4.27 speed to flip the field in special teams. There were some rumors about the Raiders moving back with Tampa here but were pretty locked in on Ruggs. I’d assume they didn’t want to risk San Francisco getting yet another target in consecutive drafts (2018 was McGlinchey and 2019 was Bosa).
Vic Analysis: Ruggs came into draft day as my 15th overall player and WR4. I had a firm round 1 grade on him as well. It is no secret to say that Ruggs has an elite trump card in his speed and is able to use that speed both deep down the field and in his after the catch ability. Ruggs isn’t the typical speed target with bad hands either. His 10 1/8th” mitts show up on tape and he uses them to make catches outside his body despite his smaller size. The Raiders should make it a habit to get the ball in Ruggs’ hands as often as possible because his speed will stretch defenses both vertically and horizontally. The Raiders have a true #1 target in Darren Waller and a good slot in Hunter Renfrow, meaning Ruggs doesn’t need to put up gawdy stats in order to be influential or valuable. Just by being on the field he will open up things underneath for our other targets. Mayock and Gruden have both raved about Ruggs' work ethic and football intelligence. Ruggs does need to try and improve on his physicality while in his routes and at the catch point but at his size that’s not an easy task. However, with Ruggs combination of athleticism, ball skills, route running, football IQ, and fearlessness he should be a staple in the offense of the Las Vegas Raiders.
6-0, 195lbs ---- Redshirt Senior ----PFF Grade: 75.0 Round 3 (80th Overall) - Lynn Bowden Jr, RB, Kentucky
Team Fit: If wide receiver was the biggest need for the Raiders, second place would be cornerback. It was heavily rumored that the Raiders were interested in taking Clemson’s A.J. Terrell at 19 but when Atlanta scooped him up the Raiders went to the next guy on their board in Ohio State’s Damon Arnette. It didn't sound like there was much interest from other teams to move up to 19 so the Raiders stuck with their guns and picked up Arnette. Just like Clelin Ferrell in 2019, the higher than anticipated draft slot will shadow these guys throughout their rookie contracts. If they perform as the Raiders expect it won’t matter but that remains to be seen.
Vic Analysis: Arnette was my CB8 with a round 2 grade. Arnette may lack ideal length but he is an adept press corner and that makes him an ideal fit for Guenther’s defense. The former Buckeye is able to disrupt routes at the line of scrimmage by being physical and aggressive. He is highly experienced and technically sound as one would expect from a senior in an Ohio State secondary. Arnette has buttery hips that flip with ease and his feet are super quick as well, leaving him able to turn and run with receivers throughout their route. Arnette hasn’t had great ball production but he flashes the ability to make plays on the ball by anticipating the receiver and attacking the catch point even with his back to the ball. Arnette may have tested poorly in his 40 time (4.56)at the Combine, but he plays much faster on film and in my opinion his athletic profile is a plus, not a minus.
5-11, 204lbs ---- Junior ---- PFF Grade: 73.0 Round 3 (81st Overall) - Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina
Team Fit: Raiders’ leadership has made it clear that they wanted to increase the number of weapons at Derek Carr’s disposal. Lynn Bowden Jr gives the Raiders QB a versatile weapon who projects best as an offensive chess piece, called a Joker in Gruden’s offense. Bowden can back up Jacobs at RB, jump into the slot at WR, and return punts as well. Bowen has overcome a tough upbringing, is gritty as hell, and still has a chip on his shoulder, making him an ideal Raider. Mayock has said that the Raiders are going to train Bowden, “..to be a running back. If he’s able to handle that job, then we’ll be able to do some other things with him. We’ll move him around, let him catch the football and return punts.”
Vic Analysis: Bowden was definitely a fun study. Despite spending much of the season playing wildcat QB after multiple QB injuries, Bowden ended up as my WR17 (RB8 if I put him with the RBs) with a round 3 grade. Bowden is a tough as nails player who thrives with the ball in his hands. As a runner he mixes his solid field vision with a willingness to run with both power and elusiveness. As a receiver he showcases good hands and the traits needed to improve as a route runner. He still requires some work releasing against press coverage and breaking free downfield against tight coverage. While Bowden has had some experience rushing from the backfield, that’s still going to need some development being a running back and not the QB. I expect that year 1 will be more schemed touches and that added development will give him a more defined role in the Raiders offense.
6-3, 215lbs ---- Senior ----PFF Grade: 77.9 Round 3 (100th Overall) - Tanner Muse, LB, Clemson
Team Fit: Did you know that the Raiders really, really wanted to improve their weapons? If you didn’t before it should be obvious now. So far, the Raiders have added a speedster in Ruggs, a do-it-all weapon in Bowden and now the big body possession receiver in Bryan Edwards. Edwards will probably start the year as the Raiders WR4, behind Ruggs, Tyrell Williams, and Hunter Renfrow. I suspect in year 2 he’ll end up being our X receiver taking over for Tyrell.
Vic Analysis: Bryan Edwards graded out as my WR15 and a 3rd Round Grade. Edwards is a big bodied receiver who thrives over the middle of the field. He needs to improve the consistency in his hands catching, but he flashes the ability to do so. Edwards is physical and sneakily elusive with the ball in his hands. He has the explosiveness and long speed to win deep and the route running to win closer to the line of scrimmage as well. He’ll need to shore up his releases against press coverage but he certainly has the requisite tools in his toolbox to do so. He had to battle some awful quarterback play while at South Carolina and going from the likes of Jake Bentley to Derek Carr should help him continue to improve and be a contributor to the Las Vegas offense.
6-2, 227lbs ---- Redshirt Senior ---- PFF Grade: 83.0 Round 4 (109th Overall) - John Simpson, OG, Clemson
Team Fit: Even with the signings of Corey Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski the Raiders wanted to improve their linebacker room. After trading back from 91 they targeted a hybrid player from their favorite school, Clemson. Muse will start out playing special teams for Rich Bisaccia while growing and learning both MIKE and WILL linebacker. Muse fits the Raiders blueprint of a tough, fast athlete with high football and non-football character. Already good friends with Clelin Ferrell, Muse could end up being the third Clemson starter on defense come 2022.
Vic Analysis: I had Tanner Muse graded as a safety and it wasn’t great. He was S17 with a Late Day 3 Grade. Muse was at his best attacking downhill, shedding and avoiding blocks, and not having to do too much diagnosing. I’m not sure Muse will have the ability to keep up with shiftier backs or tight ends, but the potential is there for him to be a solid man coverage player. Worst case he can still blitz and be an early down contributor along with his special teams work. Are there players I would have preferred at 100? Sure are, but Muse fits the Raiders blueprint and with two locked in starters at linebacker getting a developmental player isn’t a bad move. It just might have been early and like with Arnette, if Muse performs his draft slot won’t matter too much.
6-4, 321lbs ---- Senior ---- PFF Grade: 70.2 Round 4 (139th Overall) - Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech
Team Fit: Remember how I said Mayock and Gruden love Clemson players? Well here’s another one to add into the mix. The Raiders were surprised to see Simpson on the board come Day 3 and made a trade up to come and get their guy. With Richie Incognito getting up there in age and Gabe Jackson dealing with both injuries and underperformance (while having a cap hit close to $10m) the Raiders made it a priority to find someone to take over if they wanted to move on from either. There have been rumors the Raiders had Jackson on the trade block but couldn’t get any takers so he’s graduated to becoming a potential cap casualty. If that’s the case Simpson would compete with Denzelle Good at RG. Worst case I think he backs up Incognito before ultimately taking over at LG for the 37 year old veteran.
Vic Analysis: Simpson was my iOL10 (OG5) and had a 3rd round grade. Simpson is a big, thicc boi. The former Clemson Tiger thrives using his strength while in a phone booth. Simpson has elite length and hand strength, meaning once he gets hands on defenders he is generally taking them wherever he wants them to go. He lacks ideal foot quickness but masks it with decent vision and awareness. Simpson has an elite anchor but needs to make sure he doesn’t jeopardize it with getting too upright and risking his leverage. Simpson is a great fit for the Raiders west coast offense with a mix of gap/zone rushing concepts.
5-9, 180lbs ---- Junior ---- PFF Grade: 90.3 Note
Team Fit: It was borderline assumed at this point that the Raiders would trade back from 139, what with them not having any picks in the 5th, 6th, or 7th rounds. Instead, they stood pat here and selected the meanest, most fearless nickel corner they could find in Amik Robertson. Currently, LaMarcus Joyner is set to man the slot for the Raiders and if last year is any indication that isn’t the best plan. So, for insurance they went and got potentially the best slot corner in the draft in Amik Robertson. I think it's entirely possible that Amik ends up taking Joyners snaps bit by bit before starting in 2021.
Vic Analysis: Amik Robertson finished up as my CB9 with a round 2 grade. It might be safe to say that If Amik was a few inches taller that he would have gone earlier than that. Robertson plays cornerback like opposing players wanted to take his lunch money. Despite his size Robertson is able to win with physicality, instincts, and ball skills. His ability in short areas is sublime and while he can get over aggressive at times he is usually balanced covering double moves. Obviously he is going to get outmatched sometimes against bigger slot receivers but Amik will make them earn their wins.
: Mayock has said one of the reasons he was comfortable not having late day 3 picks was due to the shutdown related to COVID-19. With a shortened camp season he wanted to target players who would no question make the team over taking players who would be long shots. Post Draft Acquisitions (as of 5.21) Prince Amukamara (1 year, $1.05m, 50k G)
PFF Grade - 67.4 (43rd of 112) DeVontae Booker, RB, Denver (1 year, $1.0475m, $50k G)
Even with the Arnette and Amik draft picks, the Raiders had wanted to bring in a veteran corner who could compete with the young defensive backs on the roster for a starting role. Amukamara is a steady type who hasn’t had a ton of ball production but can get the job done in coverage. As of now he would probably be a starter with Trayvon Mullen but if Arnette shows why the Raiders picked him at 19 that could change quickly.
PFF Grade - 65.8 (Not enough snaps to qualify) Notable Undrafted Free Agents Dominik Eberle, K, Utah State
Booker gives the Raiders another veteran back to compete in camp. He’s sturdy and good in pass protection so he might make the roster as RB4 behind Jacobs, Richard, and Bowden.
Camp competition for incumbent Daniel Carlson. Eberle didn't miss an extra point in college, finished with a career percentage of 79.0, and handled kick off duties for the Aggies. Javin White, LB, UNLV
White is a hybrid defender who profiles best as a nickel linebacker and special teams player. If he's able to get ST reps he could make the back end of the roster while developing a true defensive home. Could see a path to playing time similarly to Corey Littleton. Kamaal Seymour, OT, Rutgers
4 year starter at a mighty Rutgers (for you Looch) program who profiles better on the inside then at right tackle. The Raiders brought in a ton of options at the interior so it will be a battle for Seymour to make the roster. Practice squad candidate. Nick Bowers, TE, Penn State
Bowers has good size and athleticism for the position. He was behind a possible 2021 1st round pick Pat Freirmuth's backup but dealt with health the majority of his time in Happy Valley. The Raiders have a deep tight end room so it will be tough for him to make the roster but he could be a practice squad candidate. Madre Harper, CB, Southern Illinois
Strong athlete with press man traits. Needs to improve his transitions and tweak some technical details but could make the roster and see some time as a special teams player while growing at corner. Siaosi Mariner, WR, Utah State
Jordan Love's go-to receiver in 2019, Mariner shows some decent traits at the receiver position to go with his 6-2, 205lbs frame. The top of the Raiders wide receiver depth chart is mostly set so Mariner is likely to compete for a practice squad spot. Mariner would be competing against Ateman, Doss, Gafford, Zay Jones, XFL Great De'Mornay Pierson-El and Anthony Ratliff-Williams for the final roster spot. Mike Panasiuk, DL, Michigan State
Strong as an ox with a body made for taking blocks as a two gap defender, Panasiuk has a chance to make the roster backing up Jon Hankins at 1T. Needs to improve his pass rush but I think the traits are there for him to do so. Liam McCullough, LS, Ohio State
He's a long snapper. He snaps the ball a long way. He will compete with current long snapper Trent Sieg. Conclusion
The Raiders entered the off-season with major needs at wide receiver, linebacker, and cornerback. I believe they addressed two of those, wide receiver and linebacker, strongly while still needing some development for our corner room. Mayock also made sure to improve our depth all around the roster. If Derek Carr is able to continue his upwards trend in year 3 with Jon Gruden, and the pass defense improves literally at all, then the Raiders could compete for a wild card spot. Like last year they will need to survive a tough opening slate, but this time they will need to keep their momentum and not falter down the stretch. The AFC West will be a battle however as each team has made significant improvements. You could make an argument for each of Denver, LA, or Vegas to come in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th. 53 Man Roster Projection
QB - Derek Carr
, Marcus Mariota
RB - Josh Jacobs
, Jalen Richard, Lynn Bowden
FB - Alec Ingold
WR - Henry Ruggs
, Tyrell Williams
, Hunter Renfrow
WR - Bryan Edwards
, Nelson Agahlor, Zay Jones
TE - Darrren Waller
, Jason Witten, Foster Moreau
OT - Kolton Miller, Trent Brown
, David Sharpe, Brandon Parker
iOL - Rodney Hudson, Richie Incognito, Gabe Jackson
, John Simpson
, Denzelle Good, Andre James
iDL - Johnathan Hankins, Maliek Collins
, Maurice Hurst, P.J. Hall, Daniel Ross
DE - Clelin Ferrell, Maxx Crosby
, Carl Nassib, Arden Key
LB - Corey Littleton, Nick Kwiatkoski,
Nicholas Morrow, Marquel Lee, Tanner Muse
OCB - Trayvon Mullen, Prince Amukamara
, Damon Arnette
, Isaiah Johnson
SCB - Lamarus Joyner
, Amik Robertson
FS - Damarious Randall
, Erik Harris
SS - Johnathan Abram
, Jeff Heath
K - Daniel Carlson
P - A.J. Cole
LS - Trent Sieg 2020 Draft Grade: B -
While the Raiders had some slight reaches, and not so slight (*cough*Tanner Muse*cough*), they also found some good values especially on day 2 with Bryan Edwards, John Simpson, and Amik Robertson. I think an aggressive projection has the Raiders with 4 players getting starter reps by the end of the season. More likely, I think Ruggs and Arentte start in 2020 and we see Edwards, Simpson and Amik each get more and more involved in 2021. Bowden will likely be a change of pace weapon throughout his rookie contract and Muse a special teams ace with some improved defensive playing time by 2022. 2020 Prediction: 8-8 (3rd in AFC West)
Will the Green Bay Packers win OVER/UNDER 9 games? By University Stats Prof!
submitted by David-MJ to sportsbook [link] [comments]
Matt LaFleur’s first season as Green Bay’s head coach has to be considered a success. He led the team to a 13-3 record, which secured the NFC North title.
The Packers held off the Seahawks to a 28-23 home win in the first round of the playoffs, but were ousted by the Niners in a brutal 37-20 thumping (a game in which the Packers dugged themselves into an early 27-0 hole).
2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown 2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)
Aaron Rodgers will be entering his 16th NFL season. He had another excellent year with a 26-to-4 TD-to-INT ratio and over 4,000 passing yards. He finished as the 7th-best QB in the league according to PFF ratings.
At 36 years old, he is likely to have a few good years left. After all, Drew Brees and Tom Brady posted nice statistics in their late thirties.
Rodgers has been very durable throughout his career, but he’s not invincible either. Tim Boyle was the backup plan last year, and the team needed to upgrade the position while starting to think about the post-Rodgers era.
Still, drafting Jordan Love was the most questionable and talked-about pick in this year’s draft. People expected the Packers to go with a veteran backup QB. Rodgers has mentioned several times he wants to play in his forties; he can still offer a good five years of solid play in the frozen tundra.
Love has possesses great size, throws with velocity and he’s very mobile. The main knock on him is the decision-making and inconsistency.
As a sophomore, he threw 32 TD passes versus 6 interceptions. He regressed a lot last year by posting a mediocre 20:17 TD:INT mark. Granted, his surrounding cast was very weak and he had to go through a coaching change.
Love can throw from many different arm angles; he reminds people of Patrick Mahomes in this regard. He can throw a fastball or a soft touch pass.
Quick note: he almost quit football when he was 14 years old after his dad committed suicide. However, he knew his dad would want him to keep playing, so he did just that.
2.2 Running Backs (RBs)
Aaron Jones is a top running back in this league. Along with Jamaal Williams, they form a lethal duo.
Including the playoffs, Jones ended up scoring 23 touchdowns in 18 games. His 19 regular season scores were the second most in Packers history. His numbers have increased in each of his first three years as a pro. He is also excellent as a pass catcher.
Despite playing in the shadow of Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams still finished as the 17th-best RB based on PFF rankings. He does not seem like a lead back, but he’s a perfect change-of-pace guy. Much like Jones, he can do some damage as a receiver as well.
Williams has been a steady performer thus far in his career. He has rushed for 450-550 yards in each of his three seasons, while catching a minimum of 25 balls. He has 15 total TDs over this three-year span.
If you thought GM Brian Gutekunst made a strange move by drafting QB Jordan Love in the first round, he doubled down with another head scratcher in the 2nd round when he took A.J. Dillon.
Message to Mr. Gutekunst: Aaron Rodgers needed pass catchers, not a third running back! I really don’t get this pick either. I’m not saying Dillon won’t be good in the NFL; only time will tell. However, it clearly wasn’t a position of need for the Packers.
Dillon is a power back who rarely breaks off huge runs. He racked up big numbers in three seasons in Boston College. He’s unlikely to become a three-down starter, especially since he’s not a good pass catcher. He will likely be used sporadically as a rookie.
2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)
Davante Adams is one of the best at his position. He had a streak of three straight seasons with at least 10 TD receptions snapped last year, but he still caught 83 passes for 997 yards in 12 games (he missed four games because of a toe injury).
Outside of Adams, all pass catchers appeared lost on the field. None of them developed a good chemistry with Rodgers.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling was a huge disappointment last year. He showed promise as a rookie with over 500 receiving yards. Here’s a jaw-dropping statistic: after Week #7, MVS did not get more than 19 receiving yards in any meeting. That’s awful.
One of the guys benefiting from Valdes-Scantling’s poor play was Jake Kumerow. He got more playing time than expected, but still only caught 12 passes. He is closing in on 30 years of age and is limited as an athlete, so he’s not a long-term answer for sure.
Allen Lazard was also thrown into action far more than expected. He finished second in terms of receiving yards for Green Bay, but let’s face the reality: the undrafted guy remains more of a #3 or #4 WR for any team.
Geronimo Allison was another bust last year. His top performance over the last 12 games (including the playoffs) was a meager 33 receiving yards. He left for another NFC North team, the Detroit Lions.
In other words, the #2 role is wide open. The team hopes newly acquired Devin Funchess can step into that role. The former second rounder had his best season in 2017 with the Panthers with a 63-840-8 stat line. He signed with the Colts last year, but played just one game before breaking a collarbone. He will be 26 years old this season and provides an interesting prospect for the Packers.
2.4 Tight Ends (TEs)
We’re not done talking about 2019 busts. Jimmy Graham was one of them. He clearly looks washed. He received the lowest grades of his 10-year career, and deservedly so. The Packers released him and he signed a few days later with the Bears (a horrible mind-boggling two-year, $16 million contract).
Marcedes Lewis received surprisingly good marks from PFF. If you look into the numbers, the good grade occurred mainly because of efficient run and pass blocking. He’s not much of a pass catcher and he will be 36 years old when the season begins.
Robert Tonyan will also be in the mix, but the guy that has the best chance to break out as a receiver in 2020 only caught three passes last year (all in the playoffs): Jace Sternberger. Taken in the third round of the 2019 draft, Sternberger was a threat at Texas A&M in college. He missed most of the regular season because of injuries, but the door is wide open with Graham’s departure.
We might also see third-round rookie Josiah Deguara. He has a great motor and plays extremely hard. He’s undersized as a tight end, though.
2.5 Offensive Line (OL)
The Packers had a pretty solid offensive line in 2019. All five starters managed to play at least 84% of the offensive snaps. And they all finished above-average according to PFF ratings!
The bad news, however, is the Bryan Bulaga left for the Chargers. Despite turning over 30 years old, he still played at a high level.
The Packers decided to replace him by signing Rick Wagner, formerly of the Lions. Wagner’s PFF grades from 2016 to 2018 were as follows: 74.0, 75.2 and 71.4. Last year, his play deteriorated a lot and he was tagged with a 59.0 grade. He finished as the #61 tackle among 81 guys.
I like the fact that the team is returning four out of five guys, but replacing Bulaga with Wagner has to be viewed as a downgrade.
2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE
The Packers offense finished in the middle of the pack in points scored per game. Barring major injuries, I expect about the same production in 2020.
The QB and RB situations remain the same.
Adding Funchess is not a huge move, but it won’t hurt. The team clearly needs someone to step up opposite of Davante Adams. At tight end, losing Jimmy Graham means close to nothing since he was so ineffective. Sternberger might bring a nice contribution, but we can hardly expect him to be a game-breaker.
Finally, the OL will take a dip with the loss of Bulaga. I don’t believe Rick Wagner can do better than him.
All in all, I view the additions/departures as a slight negative for Green Bay, but having so many starters returning to the lineup for a second straight season is always a good thing in the NFL. For these reasons, I expect a similar output as 2019 from this unit.
Final call (2020 vs 2019): Stable
3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown 3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)
Kenny Clark had a fantastic season! He is one of the best interior rushers in the NFL. He recorded six sacks for the second straight year, and PFF ranked him as the 13th-best interior linemen out of 114 qualifiers.
The same nice comments cannot be made about Dean Lowry. He had the worst season of his four-year career as a pro. He did not post a single sack and wasn’t great against the run either.
Reserve Tyler Lancaster is only there to provide some depth. He isn’t particularly good in any aspect of the game.
The team did not make any move regarding this position during the offseason.
3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)
During the last offseason, the Packers acquired two Smiths: Za’Darius and Preston. They burst onto the scene and got 13.5 and 12 sacks, respectively.
Obviously, both received high marks for their pass rushing abilities, but Preston finished as an average linebacker overall because of mediocre run defense and poor coverage.
Kyler Fackrell was a huge disappointment in 2019. After racking up 10.5 sacks in 2018, he only got one in 2019! He signed a one-year deal with the Giants.
First-round pick Rashan Gary wasn’t necessarily impressive during his rookie season. He played 23% of the snaps, while obtaining two sacks but very pedestrian marks from PFF (an overall 55.8 grade, which is near the bottom among edge defenders).
3.3 Linebackers (LBs)
Green Bay lost its leader in tackles from the past three years, Blake Martinez. After starting 61 of the last 64 Packers games, Martinez decided to join the New York Giants. He had the second-most tackles in the league last year, but don’t be misled by that number. Martinez still finished slight below-average (52nd out of 89 LBs) because of poor play against the run.
The Packers also lost some depth at the position when B.J. Goodson left for Cleveland.
Green Bay picked up a linebacker from the Browns roster: Christian Kirksey. He was picked in the 3rd round of the 2014 before being involved in all 16 games from his first four seasons in the NFL. However, he has been plagued with injuries over the most recent two years; he played 7 games in 2018 and only 2 games in 2019.
He is also capable of racking up tackles, as shown by his 2016 and 2017 seasons where he obtained 146 and 138. His PFF grades during his first four seasons varied between 61.9 and 69.3. Just to give you a rough idea, a 65.0 rating would have been good for 29th place out of 89 LBs.
3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)
Jaire Alexander has done the job as the #1 corner. He has obtained 72.4 and 71.2 marks from PFF during his first two seasons, which is well-above average. He’s so-so defending the run, but his coverage skills are very good.
The number two corner, Kevin King had five interceptions last year after getting just one over his first two years as a pro. He did show some improvement after two rocky years. He finished 2019 as a middle-of-the-pack corner.
Tramon Williams played 74% of the snaps and had a surprisingly good season despite his age. He will be 37 when the 2020 season begins. He is currently a free agent and it remains to be seen if the Packers bring him back or not.
In summary, Alexander and King are both pretty young and could still be improving, but Tramon Williams provided quality play and it’s uncertain if someone else can pick up the slack.
3.5 Safeties (S)
Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage were the top two guys here.
Along with Za’Darius and Preston Smith, the Adrian Amos was another excellent signing by the Packers during the 2019 offseason. Amos had been a reliable guy in Chicago for four seasons, and he continued to excel in the frozen tundra.
After being selected as the #21 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Darnell Savage did show some flashes as a rookie last year. He finished as the #47 safety among 87 qualifiers, which is very satisfying for a rookie. He earned nice marks in coverage (77.4), but horrible ones against the run (37.7).
Will Redmond will be back as the number three safety. He’s not starter material for sure.
2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE
Most of the starters are returning in 2020. That’s the good news.
The team lost their leader in tackles, Blake Martinez, as well as pass rusher Kyler Fackrell and CB Tramon Williams.
The only acquisition worth of note is Christian Kirksey. Him not having played very much during the last two seasons brings some question marks.
The Packers defense struggled against the run last year, and there’s no reason to believe that will change in 2020. Green Bay still finished 9th in points allowed, which was a very acceptable result.
Unfortunately, a decrease in effectiveness is expected and I predict this unit will end 2020 as a middle-of-pack defense (12th – 19th in points allowed).
Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade
4. Regular Season Wins
According to sportsbooks, the Green Bay Packers are expected to win 9 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?
Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:
- Use BetOnline.ag’s point spreads on all 256 regular season games.
- Convert those point spreads into win probabilities.
- Simulate each of the 256 games, according to those win probabilities, via the R statistical software.
- Repeat the previous step one million times (you get 1M simulated seasons).
- Count the proportion of seasons where the Packers won more or less than 9 games.
Here are the results (excluding the simulated years where the Pack won exactly 9 games, since in those cases your bet would have tied):
Tip: Bet OVER 9 wins
| ||Estimated Probability ||Sportsbook ||Odds ||ROI |
|OVER 9 WINS ||51.4% ||bwin ||+115 ||+10.5% |
|UNDER 9 WINS ||48.6% ||Heritage Sports ||+100 ||-2.8% |
Return On Investment (ROI): +10.5%
Rank: 25th-highest ROI out of 32 teams
Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): -106
Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Packers’ 16 regular season games:
HOME: -6 vs ATL, -10 vs CAR, -4.5 vs CHI, -6.5 vs DET, -11.5 vs JAX, -3 vs MIN, -2.5 vs PHI, -3.5 vs TEN.
ROAD: 0 @ CHI, -2 @ DET, 0 @ HOU, +2.5 @ IND, +3 @ MIN, +5.5 @ NO, +6.5 @ SF, +2.5 @ TB.
Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.
TOMORROW: I'll talk about the team whose ROI is the 24th-highest in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers!
Did you like this write-up? If so, comment below! I'd like to know YOUR opinion on what to expect from the Packers' 2020 season!
Cheating Boyfriend Betrayed by His Good Christian Sister in the Best Possible Way
submitted by FutureButterscotch9 to ProRevenge [link] [comments]
This story is now somewhat famous in my circle of friends, and one finally roped me into spilling it on here (here you go Evan). This is the tale of myself and this perfect girl named "Charlie". Part 1: Exposition
This took place roughly 2 years ago, at the twilight of my senior year of high school. It was early May and our graduation was set for early June, so with most of our brains switched to summer mode and our teachers fresh out of fucks, my friends and I finally fell in line with the majority of our class and started ditching.
Our friend group consisted of a handful of minor characters in addition to my boyfriend of 3 years: "Kyle", my best friend since middle school: "Sarah", myself, and a recent inclusion: "Brad", who, not gonna lie, was and is a bit of a White Knight.
Kyle belonged to a Christian family. No, not the nice, charity giving, actually Christian Christians, but rather the homophobic, slur slinging, will kick a homeless guy in the face and then sit in church like a saint Christians. They always went to church every Wednesday and Friday, and while they invited me, I never went due to being a) an Agnostic, b) a closeted bisexual, and c) almost physically sick from their hypocrisy. They never really liked me because of this. They also were entitled. It wasn't evident until they got into trouble. You see, they helped organize the Church's funding (grants, donations, charity, maintenance, etc), which put them pretty high on the pecking order. The Church, while not the centerpiece of our part of town, still claimed A LOT of the district's authority figures as patrons. It was the sort of unofficial institution that sneaks its way into politics without ever being directly involved
. So whenever they got pulled over or issued a parking ticket, they'd drop a couple names and dodge the whole thing.
Kyle himself was decent. I'd known him since elementary school, he was usually nice, and he was hot (shallow, I know, but it was high school), so I tolerated his idiotic and oftentimes narcissistic behavior (they treated him like God's gift to Earth). But it was his sister, "Charlie", who redeemed the whole family. She was a year younger than Kyle and I, and was the only genuine Christian in the group. However, she also had an impish streak in her that led to some fun hi-jinx. You could always tell she'd had a devilish epiphany with this little half smile she'd make. We'd often hang out and she was a blast to be around. We were very close, and she often confided in me about stuff she couldn't tell her family. To me, a great friend. To them, the perfect little Christian daughter.
Sarah was a really good friend who had helped me through the death of my mom. I wasn't diagnosed with depression or anything major, but I loved my mama to pieces and it shattered me. Her and Kyle were always there for me and she was the one who pushed me to ask him out. I trusted her about as much as any teenager could.
Anyways, back to the story. One fateful Tuesday, Kyle, Sarah, myself, and our mutual friends headed downtown to get food, skate, and generally do stereotypical annoying teenage stuff. Getting bored of our current activities, I asked Kyle if he wanted to race on our boards to the end of the street (it was just past the lunch rush so most people were either back in their offices or stuck in traffic). He accepted and about 30 seconds and a loose flagstone later I ended up planting my face into the sidewalk and fracturing my arm. I tried to shake it off but no one else was having it, considering I was walking like a newborn deer and my arm was beginning to swell. We ended up making a visit to the ER where they confirmed that yes, I did have a fractured arm, and a concussion to boot. The concussion was my dumbass tax.
It wasn't too big a deal as far as accidents go, but considering my sorry state, they wanted me to stick around so they could do a few more tests, brace my arm, and generally just ensure that I was healthy enough to return to my dumbassery. Thankfully, Kyle and Sarah had offered to stay with me, because apparently their parents didn't care, and we were already ditching so school the following day wasn't a big issue. I ended up spending the night in the hospital (the hospital had been understaffed for years, so once your condition was deemed stable they tended to shove you into limbo) and went home the following day with the usual concussion orders. Effectively I was to become as a vegetable for 10 days. Wanting to get back to my recently attained freedom I complied, meaning I spent about 7 days sleeping and eating. I only picked up my phone after the doctor cleared me, to which I found an unexpected message. Part 2: The Act
Brad had gotten my number from Kyle, and sent me a link to a private data storing account (one of those services where you can upload videos, pictures, etc and lock it behind a pass-code for personal use only) and a password. I, being intrigued by this sudden plot hook in my boring life, followed it to find literal GIGABYTES of pictures, all showing Kyle and Sarah in compromising positions and captions hollering things that were definitely not beneficial to their relationship with the Lord. I'm talking everything from individual nudes taken from the Chat of Snaps to full on money shots and everything in between. It looked like an amateur porn album. The most recent of which was dated to, as you probably guessed, that Tuesday evening.
Brad explained that Kyle had this whole thing where he'd upload videos of him and Sarah doing it for his close circle to whack off at. I personally would've simply used Pornhub like a normal human, but Kyle had always been a little self-infatuated so I wasn't too surprised at this Narcissus level move. Brad had apparently just been included and was sickened by the whole thing.
For context, in our 3 years of dating, the furthest Kyle and I had gone was a BJ after a football game that January. He spewed BS about "saving it for marriage" while dicking down my BFF.
I. Was. Shattered. The two people I had placed my unconditional trust in had, without my knowing, been taking turns pounding that trust away, all the while being fully aware of their importance in my life.
I confronted Kyle about this when we next hung out at his place, and he denied everything at first. Said I was being a paranoid bitch. When I showed him the evidence, he involved his parents, who started claiming I PHOTOSHOPPED the photos and videos, and threatened that they would report me for making child porn (Sarah and Kyle had only just turned 18 the past September). Knowing the police would prove me right, but not wanting to tank Brad for possession (our city had been throwing the book at people for this for years) I dropped it and left.
I thought we'd broken up, but apparently his parents insisted we stay together until after graduation to save face with his extended family. Apparently they knew deep down he was guilty, but the usual EP tendencies flared up. Not wanting to make waves (yet) I reluctantly complied, and began regressing into my earlier negative mental spaces. Part 3: The Revenge
The funny thing about religious families is that they are just as prone to producing LGBT children as non-religious ones. Kyle had avoided the "sickness". Charlie hadn't.
Not one week after our argument, I was at Kyle's house, helping him keep up the act. We hardly interacted, so I turned to Charlie for companionship. This typically happened when Kyle and I would get into fights, as Charlie's chill demeanor and deep concern often led me to confide in her, sometimes with things I didn't even share with Sarah. This, being the biggest "argument" of our relationship, was no different. While we were chilling in her room, she started to get really antsy. Her normal bubbly demeanor was gone. Contrary to your typical homosexual, I didn't have a strong gaydar, so I assumed she'd learned of Kyle's infidelity.
Well yes, but actually no.
I asked her what was wrong and she said she had a secret to spill. I wasn't really in the mood for drama or comforting, but it being Charlie I let her go.
In what has yet to be the second biggest surprise of my life, she told me about how she'd been in the closet for years (14 or 15 was when she first started figuring it out), and apparently for a long time she'd been trying to get closer to me because I was the only person she truly felt comfortable around. Her family was almost stereotypically homophobic and really only approved of her church friends. She was jealous of Kyle and our relationship, but thinking I was straight and not wanting to rock the boat she resigned herself to her angsty teenage heartache. That was until the HMS Relationship struck an infidelity iceberg and she figured she could finally shoot her shot.
Now, given any other circumstance, I would've said hell no. We'd known each other for over a decade, and I'd been dating her brother for 3 years. It would've been scummy and Charlie was practically a sister to me at this point. But then the blood started rushing and the lizard brain started screaming for payback. I'll spare the details for her privacy, but one woo-hoo later her and I were enjoying the afterglow when the gears really started turning.
I felt like shit. I knew what I'd done was wrong, but given my current situation I frankly didn't care about that. I more so felt bad for Charlie. At the time, my feelings were twisted and painful, and I thought I didn't really like her that
way, so I thought I'd just one-and-doned the only non-family member who I still trusted. She caught on to the vibe I was giving off and ended up talking me out of some bad thoughts while we got dressed and said our goodbyes.
We ended up continuing the relationship after that. For her she finally got to be with her longtime crush, and I got an escape. When the day of graduation came and went, we maintained the charade until both our families, as well as their church group, went over to their place for a massive dinner celebration and commemorative slideshow.
Now I'd known about this event since the fall, and hadn't thought too much of it until the incident. During our fling, Charlie had been pushing me out of my slump and towards thoughts of vengeance. Apparently, her parents had been spreading rumors to their church group that I had been cheating on Kyle, and they were saying that after the dinner he was going to dump me. In front of an entire crowd that included MY FAMILY. I didn't really care about myself, but my dad had gotten a lot of flak for remarrying after mom died. Some of it even came from me, but having the perspective of age and distance I got over it. I was not about to have him publicly embarrassed by some shitheads who thought they blessed the ground they walked on. Before it was just petty high school drama. But this was no joke. My dad worked for the District Rep's office. The District Rep grew up at that church. It was part of his "one of the people" persona. A few choice words my dad's job would be history. Guess Kyle's parents in their malignancy never thought that part through. Or maybe they did and I'm giving them too much credit. Either way, this was now personal.
So Charlie, being her impish self, began scheming. She was loved by the Church group, so it was easy for her to get the role of prepping the slideshow. She even gave a whole speech about how she couldn't wait to "finally give her brother and his friends the recognition they deserved". She then began compiling the videos and photos from the circle jerk account Kyle had made (dumbass hadn't changed the password), alongside screenshots of their conversations in a group chat they had (she got those by "borrowing" his phone, making a "call" and sending the screenshots to her phone before deleting them from the message history) , and integrated them into a slideshow. It was structured so that a slide would pop up with a bunch of pictures of the boy in question alongside their favorite bible quote. Then the next few slides would include the screenshots of their respective conversations and whatever pictures they had listed as their favorites (censored and from after they had turned 18 for obvious reasons). Altogether this slideshow took Charlie days to compile, but not once did she complain or ask for a break. She was on a mission, and alongside being hot in its weird way, it was also shifting my perspective on our relationship.
So the night comes and we're all sitting around the table, making small talk and putting on our best fake smiles. Several church families are giving me smug "you're gonna get what's coming to you" looks, but I shrugged them off and stuck with my family for most of night. Charlie and I avoided each other to ensure no one got suspicious. Finally, the moment of truth came. Everyone was called into the backyard where they had rows of chairs set up in front of a massive projector. Charlie portrayed her best innocent little sister act before starting the soundtrack. The slides began to roll, and people began to gasp and yell in tune to Good Old Days
by Macklemore. Seeing the looks on Kyle and his family's faces as they realized what was happening was priceless. In turn, each boy was brought onscreen and put on blast, and each time everyone was too busy recovering from the whiplash to stop it. The few that did tried to grab Charlie's laptop, but she quickly scooped it up and ran into the house, locking herself in a bathroom (the projector was wireless). No one thought to turn off the projector. Idiots.
Finally, after almost five minutes of bible quotes and nudes, the boy of the hour was put on screen. His quote: Hebrews 13:4 "Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery." It was intended to create the setup for my humiliation. Oh how the turntables.
A handful videos played showing his 18+ exploits, alongside screenshots of the rows of content he had made, with texts dating back to the summer of 2017 implying the length of his fling. It hurt to watch, but I found my solace in the sweet nectar of vengeance laid before my eyes. Finally came the last slide, a blank white page with a single audio file link. Even I was confused at this part, seeing as audio wasn't included in our plans. Charlie crept back outside and clicked play, and Kyle's parents' voices came screaming through the speakers. Apparently, Charlie had recorded their entire humiliation plan in detail, and had added it to the slideshow as evidence of my impending setup. The girl had covered all bases, and when the show ended, she stood next to the projector beaming that devilish half grin.
It took a few seconds for anything to happen. Kyle and his family beat a hasty retreat to the house, but the party being at their place they had nowhere to go. Several church members conveyed their disgust at Charlie, Kyle, and the boys in equal measure for the event. She ignored them, called out to her parents, and waited for them to peep their heads out. When they did, she quickly planted a massive kiss on my cheek and pronounced herself as gay. Needless to say, that didn't go down well. My parents and I left in a hurry, and Charlie, now in deep shit, came with us. Part 4: The Aftermath
Charlie and I have been dating since. As you probably guessed, her family cut ties with her, so she ended up crashing at my place. My stepmom wasn't too pleased with how she'd gone about my revenge, but my dad thought it was hilarious. He collected his $20 from my stepmom (they'd had a bet over when I'd come out, apparently) and argued on our behalf for Charlie to stay. After all, they had an interesting first impression, and there was no risk of pregnancy. To top it off, it was the perfect way for them to spite Kyle's family after they'd trashed my reputation and tried to make me an outcast. He caught some jokes and snide remarks at work for the next few weeks, but given the circumstances and the fact I was a teenage daughter (apparently we're prone to bouts of roguishness), he got off. No harm.
As for Kyle? Well his family got barred from their church after his collection came to light, which caused them to fall from local grace. They lost the ear of local officials, and the various name drops they'd been using to avoid various fines and penalties caught up to them. Last I heard from Sarah they had moved to the next state over and Kyle was living sexless in his parents basement, squeaking by at a community college.
Sarah and I made up eventually. It took a lot of apologizing and no small amount of grovelling on her part, but not wanting to resent her for the rest of my life I got over myself and allowed her back in. We're not as close as we used to be, but that trust is slowly growing back. Let's just hope she she keeps her stuff in her pants this time.
Charlie and I lived together until I went off to college, where we've been long-distance since. She managed to get into a school two hours away, so we often spend weekends at each others' dorms or somewhere in between, doing our typical hedonistic thing. It's taken me some time to fully recover. As cathartic as our revenge felt, it did little to truly bring me solace. Despite the implications of this story, I had a really deep connection with Kyle, and while it's easy to write off as teenage drama, it still scarred me. My family and Charlie have helped me rebuild. Our relationship may have begun unconventionally, and could certainly be classifiable as "trashy", but we don't care. We're happy, and I have a girl who's gone above and beyond for me. Not everyone can say that. TL;DR:
Boyfriend of 3 years cheats with my BFF, and his religious family tries to cover it up. I sleep with his sister, who exposes him during a church dinner, and drags me out of the closet with her.
Indianapolis Colts Top 5: Quarterbacks
| || | submitted by chadowan to Colts [link] [comments]
With the season (hopefully) on the way I thought I'd put together some lists for top 5 players at each position in Indianapolis (not Baltimore) Colts history. I'll start with QB, and work my way through. This list is purely my opinion as a die hard fan since the early Manning days, and if you think I have no clue what I'm talking about, please feel free to let me know.
Fun fact, out of the 26 QBs to start a game for the Indy Colts there are only 7 players that have a winning record. Three of them are Colts legends Josh Freeman, Gary Hogeboom, and Craig Erickson.
5. Jack Trudeau https://preview.redd.it/a54mr7g9g3b51.jpg?width=361&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=2d086a51719ff08e2c1a8cb651100c0a37f8458f
|Years ||Record ||Playoffs ||Comp % ||Yards ||TDs ||INTs ||Y/A ||Rating |
|198-93 ||18-29 ||0-1 ||52.9 ||9,647 ||41 ||62 ||6.3 ||64.4 |
How He Got Here
After the complete disaster that was attempting to draft John Elway #1 in 1983, the then Baltimore Colts stuck with Mike Pagel at QB, who had just led them to a winless season in 1982. Team owner Robert Irsay decided to move the team to Indianapolis before the 1984 season the team stuck with Pagel as their main QB despite him clearly not being their future at the position. This led to 2 season with losing records and last place finishes in the AFC East. Entering the 1986 draft, the Colts were clearly looking for a franchise player at QB. The obvious choice was Jim Everett out of Purdue, but unfortunately he was selected #3 to the Houston Oilers when the Colts had the #4 pick. Instead of drafting the only other franchise QB in the draft, Mark Rypien, the Colts decided to select promising Illinois QB Jack Trudeau in the 2nd round. Trudeau had shown a lot of promise in his career, leading Illinois to a Rose Bowl in 1984 and finishing 2nd in the Davey O'Brien Award (Best College QB) to Doug Flutie. Unfortunately for him and the Colts, this talent would not translate well to the NFL
After trading Mike Pagel to the Browns the starting job was set for Trudeau entering the 1986 season. Unfortunately the Colts were still a very bad team overall and Trudeau was not set to overcome that. In 11 starts he had 8 TDs, 18 INTs, and a 48.9% completion rate for an 0-11 record. It was immediately clear he was not the savior the Colts needed to bring legitimate football to Indy.
Fortunately, a contract dispute between Hall of Fame RB Eric Dickerson allowed the Colts to trade for Dickerson midway through the 1987 season. Dickerson was an immediate breath of life to the fledgling Indianapolis Colts franchise and helped lead them to their first playoff berth. Trudeau shared starting duties with Gary Hogeboom, and both were successful in not screwing things up too bad, giving the ball to Dickerson, and staying out of the damn way. Trudeau started in his only playoff game and actually played decently well: 251 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT, but it wasn't enough as the Colts lost 38-21 to the Bernie Kosar led Cleveland Browns who would eventually lose in via "The Drive" in the AFC Championship.
It was clear the Colts would need a better QB to compliment their new superstar in Dickerson, and thus they drafted future Pro Bowler Chris Chandler in the 3rd round in 1988. However, Chris Chandler was most definitely not a Pro Bowler for the Colts. Chandler didn't impress despite an 9-7 overall record, and was replaced by Trudeau following a bad start to the 1989 season. Trudeau had his best year as a pro in 1989: 2,317 yards, 15 TDs, 13 INTs, but the Colts still finished 8-8 and outside of the playoffs.
Trudeau was improving, but was still clearly not the QB of the future, which they hoped to get by trading All-Pro Tackle Chris Hinton, Future All-Pro WR Andre Rison, and the #3 Pick in 1991 for the #1 Pick in 1990 which they used to draft QB Jeff George (Wow). Trudeau was kept as the backup and was a spot starter for the Colts from 1990-93. Despite the horrific play of George, Trudeau couldn't muster much better in his limited playing time and was released in 1994.
My favorite highlight https://youtu.be/kM0APJieAME?t=678
Jack Trudeau was at best a mediocre QB you could somewhat rely on to manage the game and allow more talented players to make plays. Unfortunately the late 80s, early 90s Colts didn't have too many of those so his play suffered as well. His numbers aren't great and he wasn't much beloved by Colts fans, but he did help lead the Colts to their first playoff appearance which helped me put him on the list over Matt Hasselbeck and others. Trudeau has actually hung around Indy doing various radio and TV appearances talking about the Colts and even has a couple of DUIs as well.
4. Jacoby Brissett https://preview.redd.it/96cmm0sag3b51.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=4a578fcdd25c1a0830d6d6b7fc8b5dde43309455
|Years ||Record ||Playoffs ||Comp % ||Yards ||TDs ||INTs ||Y/A ||Rating |
|2017- ||11-19 ||0-0 ||59.8 ||6,042 ||31 ||13 ||6.6 ||84.6 |
How He Got Here
The Colts had their franchise QB in Andrew Luck, but leading up to the 2017 season it was revealed during the preseason Luck had a shoulder injury which would eventually lead to him missing the entire 2017 season. This left the Colts scrambling as they knew QB Scott Tolzien was not the answer at QB, so 8 days before the start of the season the new GM Chris Ballard traded 1st round bust Phillip Dorsett for 3rd string QB for the Patriots Jacoby Brissett. Brissett had looked at least competent spot starting for the suspended Tom Brady and hurt Jimmy Garoppolo in 2016, so he was the best option the Colts had available so close to the beginning of the season.
Bringing in a new QB for a team 8 days before the start of the season and asking him to play is like asking a train engineer to launch a rocket to the moon, so Tolzien started week 1 for Colts. He continued to not impress going into week 2, and was replaced for Brissett. Brissett was an improvement, but it was clear he was overwhelmed by the change of scenery and the rest of the Colts roster and staff was not talented enough to make up for it. He finished with competent numbers: 3,098 yards, 13 TDs, 7 INTs, 58.8% completion rate, 6.6 Y/A, but was merely a game manager for a bad team as the Colts finished 4-12.
Andrew Luck was ready to return in 2018 and the Colts were willing to give Brissett the benefit of the doubt and kept him on as the backup. The Colts saw a major resurgence with Luck and an incredible draft and free agent class by Chris Ballard, leading to their first playoff appearance since 2015, eventually losing to the Patrick Mahomes led Chiefs. The Colts were looking to improve going into 2019, but a now too familiar announcement led up to the season when it was revealed a calf injury was going to cause Andrew Luck to retire 2 weeks before the start of the regular season. The spotlight was once again shown on Jacoby Brissett, who was asked to take over Luck's team. Fortunately this time Brissett was able to get all the first team reps in the preseason leading up to week 1 and was much more familiar with the system.
That familiarity paid off as Brissett led the Colts to a 5-2 start, including wins over playoff teams like the Texans and Titans along with the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Brissett was not putting up All-Pro numbers, but had clearly improved from 2017 and was still not making game losing mistakes. Through week 9 he had 190 YPG, 11 TDs, and 6 INTs, and and the eye test had shown he was a good leader and could occasionally make big plays when needed. However, after a knee sprain in week 10 he was clearly not the same player. His injury either hampered his physical abilities or his confidence but his poor play for the rest of the season allowed the Colts to fall to 7-9, including an embarrassing 34-7 loss to the Saints that I made the trip over to New Orleans for and watched as Brissett sailed the ball over every receiver's head. Brissett will likely be the backup for the 2020 season behind free agent Phillip Rivers, but he's shown enough flashes of ability that his career is long from over, whether that ends up being on the Colts or somewhere else in the league.
My favorite highlight https://youtu.be/Q1bFNE0CGXY?t=287
I believe I'm with the majority of Colts fans in that when I see Jacoby Brissett I see somewhat of a tragic figure. He got thrown to the wolves in 2017 and did the best he could, but was basically set up to fail. It's honestly not too much of a stretch to say his play through week 9 of 2019 was the best QB play by an Indy Colts QB not named Manning, Luck, or Harbaugh. You could tell he was well-liked by both fans and teammates, especially through the first half of 2019, but his limitations as a player were clear. Colts fans have been spoiled in the 21st century by 2 all-time great QBs, so any deviation from that, especially when it's not by a QB we drafted #1 overall, will be seen as a major failure. I think people came down a little too hard on Jacoby by the end of 2019, and that he's still a solid pro capable of being the QB on a winning team in the right situation. However, he showed in the 2nd half of 2019 that situation is probably not in Indy going forward.
3. Jim Harbaugh https://preview.redd.it/ka0f9imcg3b51.jpg?width=300&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=f34fa86258b0e403bfe000b84ba246bcf11dfc42
|Years ||Record ||Playoffs ||Comp % ||Yards ||TDs ||INTs ||Y/A ||Rating |
|1994-97 ||20-26 ||2-2 ||60.7 ||8,705 ||49 ||26 ||7.1 ||86.6 |
How He Got Here
The Colts had come out of the Eric Dickerson/Jeff George era looking like an absolute dumpster fire. The Colts had been in Indy for 10 years and Indy was still very much a basketball town. The only signature player the Indy Colts had was Eric Dickerson, and he had a very sour exit in 1992 after 2 bad years. The Indianapolis Colts were still in the woods, searching for the player that could give their franchise hope that they would be treated as a legitimate threat in the NFL and generate significant interest from the fanbase. That hope came from an unlikely source in Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh had led the Chicago Bears to 2 playoff appearances in the late Mike Ditka-era, but his play had fallen off and by 1994 he looked somewhat washed. The desperate Colts made a surprisingly wise decision in not drafting QBs Heath Schuler or Trent Dilfer. Instead they drafted future Hall of Fame RB Marshall Faulk to replace Eric Dickerson (this is the "Who the hell is Mel Kiper?" draft) and signing Jim Harbaugh.
Harbaugh didn't come out guns blazing in 1994 as he traded starting duties with Green Bay castoff Don Majkowski. Harbaugh put up decent numbers but the Colts finished 4-5 in games Harbaugh started, 8-8 overall. Harbaugh entered the 1995 season as no sure thing, the Colts actually traded their 1996 first round pick for young Tampa QB Craig Erickson in another baffling trade for an unproven QB. Erickson and Harbaugh competed for the starting position in training camp and Erickson was selected as the starter by head coach Ted Marchibroda.
Erickson played poorly the first 2 weeks, being replaced and outplayed by Harbaugh in both games. By week 3 Harbaugh was the full time starter and didn't look back. Harbaugh was showing that he meshed well with new Offensive Coordinator Lindy Infante as Harbaugh put up some of the most efficient passing numbers of any QB in the NFL in 1995: 2,575 yards, 17 TDs, 5 INTs, 63.7% completion rate, and a league leading passer rating of 100.7 (ahead of guys like Brett Favre, Troy Aikman, Steve Young, and Dan Marino). Even more importantly he was a becoming the tough effective leader to energize the entire team, leading the Colts to 4 game winning drives that season, including one over the 1994 Super Bowl champion 49ers. The Colts were just outside of the playoffs going into week 17, but Harbaugh led the Colts to a win over the Drew Bledsoe led Patriots in the RCA Dome to sneak the Colts into the playoffs at 9-7. Harbaugh earned his first Pro Bowl appearance along with NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
The Colts were going into the playoffs as 5.5 point underdogs against the San Diego Chargers, a team they had just lost to in week 16. However, thanks to 3 TDs from Harbaugh and an out-of-nowhere 147 yard, 2 TD performance from rookie FB Zach Crockett, the Colts overcame the odds. They were heading into a gauntlet of Arrowhead stadium against the best defense in the league and a Marcus Allen led 13-3 Kansas City Chiefs. In an ugly game where the wind chill was -15oF, luck worked in the Colts favor. Harbaugh didn't throw well, but picked up several key 1st down with his legs. He had 1 INT and 3 fumbles, but fortunately lost 0. Chiefs QB Steve Bono had 3 INTs and K Lin Elliot went 0/3 on field goals in a season where he made 80%. Colts K Cary Blanchard made 1/3, and that was enough to upset the heavily-favored Chiefs 10-7. Harbaugh's most defining moment as the Colts QB would come in the AFC Championship against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Harbaugh's cinderella story continued on against Bill Cowher and Neil O'Donnell's Steelers. The Colts and Steelers traded scores throughout the game. With 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter, Harbaugh threw a dime to WR Floyd Turner for a 47 yard touchdown to put the Colts up 16-13. Unfortunately the Colts couldn't run out enough clock on their next drive and the Steelers rushed down the field for the go-ahead score to put them up 20-16. Harbaugh wasn't done yet. With 88 seconds needing 84 yards, Harbaugh willed the Colts down the field to the Steelers' 29-yard line for a hail mary shot with 5 seconds left. Harbaugh tossed up a prayer that was very nearly caught by Colts WR Aaron Bailey, but he couldn't come up with it. The Cinderella story was over, but it was a defining moment for the Colts franchise. The 1995 Colts were within a hair of making the Super Bowl, and that 1995 playoff run led by Harbaugh created a real fanbase for them.
Harbaugh's stats regressed some in 1996, but he still led the Colts to a 9-7 record and the playoffs, this time getting whooped by the Steelers in the wild card. In 1997 his stats improved some but the wheels fell off of the team as they started off 0-10, eventually falling to 3-13. Fortunately their record would net them the #1 pick in the 1998 draft. After it was clear the Colts were using the pick on QB they traded Harbaugh to the Ravens.
My favorite highlight https://youtu.be/FT4vF24WanE?t=155
“A lot of people use (the word) ‘culture,’ but the attitude, everybody was team-first, from the front office, together with the coaches, together with the ownership, together with the players, the equipment staff, the training staff, I mean it felt like we were family.” - Jim Harbaugh on 1995
I don't think enough can be said about the effect of Harbaugh and that 1995 team had on the Colts. He gave us our first source of pride in the Colts and set the tone for the franchise to not be the laughingstock of the league. He paved the way for the decades of excellence that came after. Harbaugh will never be a HoF QB, but his effect on the Colts is severely underrated.
For more details on the 1995 Cinderella season, read this IndyStar article: https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nfl/colts/2016/01/21/1995-indianapolis-colts-jim-harbaugh-aaron-bailey-afc-championship-game-ted-marchibroda/78291676/
2. Andrew Luck https://preview.redd.it/8nh7p6pdg3b51.jpg?width=1800&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=bc67a67720b82f9294b9283924f61d9f261e4d85
|Years ||Record ||Playoffs ||Comp % ||Yards ||TDs ||INTs ||Y/A ||Rating |
|2012-18 ||53.33 ||4-4 ||60.8 ||23,671 ||171 ||83 ||7.2 ||89.5 |
How He Got Here
After a serious neck injury to franchise stalwart Peyton Manning, the Colts went from perennial playoff contender to nearly winless in 2011. It was unknown if Manning would ever be the same QB again, so the Colts opted to release their most valuable player and use their #1 pick in 2012 on a QB. There was some debate on possibly drafting the Heisman winner out of Baylor, Robert Griffin III, but new GM Ryan Grigson made no doubt in the fact that he was drafting Andrew Luck. Son of former Oilers QB Oliver Luck, Andrew Luck blossomed under head coach Jim Harbaugh to revitalize the Stanford football program while also graduating with a bachelor's degree in architectural design. Luck was hailed by nearly every scout as a can't miss prospect, having nearly every physical tool you want from a QB along with a clear handle on the mental and intangible aspects of the game.
Expectations for Luck were high going into 2012, but not so for the team overall. Many experts put the Colts at or near the bottom of all power rankings. Not only had the team lost Peyton Manning that year, but also many key pieces from the Manning era such as Pierre Garçon, Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark, Jeff Saturday, and Gary Brackett. To make matters worse, new head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia and missed weeks 5-16. However, despite all odds, Luck led the Colts to an 11-5 record. Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians proved to be a diamond in the rough by helping Luck turn a 2-14 team that lost multiple starters into a playoff team. Luck's stats weren't always pretty: 23 TDs, 18 INTs, 54.1% completion rate, and a 76.5 rating, but he could clearly make plays happen with an absurd 7 game winning drives. The miracles came to an end with a shellacking by the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs, but this season proved Luck would be no bust, he was a force to be reckoned with.
Luck continued to grow in 2013 and 2014, improving in every category to crescendo in 2014 with a league-leading 40 TDs, 16 INTs, 61.7% completion rate, and a 96.5 rating. In 2013 he led the Colts to his first playoff victory in spectacular fashion. After being down 38-10 early in the 3rd quarter to the Alex Smith led Chiefs, Luck led a furious and unbelievable comeback 45-44 victory. Any Colts fan could tell you after seeing all the comeback victories Luck had led to never count him out, and he cemented that in this game. In 2014 Luck led the Colts past their old god of Peyton Manning in Denver in the divisional round, but were given a thorough ass-whooping in the AFC Championship by the soon-to-be Super Bowl champions New England Patriots in what is now infamously known as the "Deflategate Game."
Andrew Luck was a very physical player and was known to take many hits, sometimes making spectacular plays through those hits. However, that punishment started to pile up and wasn't helped by GM Ryan Grigson's poor draft classes and inability to build a competent offensive line to block for Luck. This culminated in the injury plagued 2015 and 2016 seasons. Luck only played 7 games in 2015 and severely regressed in every statistical category, clearly hampered by various injuries such as a lacerated kidney. Luck's stats improved in 2016, but the team did not as they finished 8-8, partially due to an astounding 7% sack of Luck. Either some of Luck's good fortune had finally run out or the team and culture built by GM Grigson had completely failed to support their superstar QB. Owner Jim Irsay bet on Luck and fired Grigson after 2016.
Hopes were high heading into 2017, but unfortunately an unknown snowboarding accident aggravated a previous shoulder injury for Luck. News was very slow to come out, but fans were shocked to find out he would likely miss the entire season 8 days before week 1. New GM Chris Ballard made a quick trade for Jacoby Brissett, but fans were worried after 3 years of being hampered by injuries Luck may never be the same player.
In 2018 we believed those doubts were proven wrong. Luck had an incredibly resurgent season, leading the new look Colts back into the playoffs for the first time since 2014 with a 10-6 record. Luck's numbers were back to form: 39 TDs, 15 INTs, and career bests of 67.3% completion rate and 98.7 rating. Fans were pleased to finally see Luck playing behind a solid offensive line that prevented which prevented him from being sacked for 5 weeks and giving him a career low 2.7% sack rate. Luck led the Colts to a Wild Card win over the Deshaun Watson's Texans, but were stopped in the cold in Arrowhead against Patrick Mahomes' Chiefs. However, hopes were high leading into 2019 that the structure given by GM Chris Ballard would protect Luck and allow him to lead us to our Super Bowl.
Sadly that did not work out as Luck appeared to have a calf injury leading up to the 2019 season. Fans held out hope he would be ready to go for the start of the season, but after the years of rehabbing Luck had finally had enough. 2 weeks before the season opener during a preseason game against the Chicago Bears it was leaked that Luck planned to retire. Fortunately his backup Jacoby Brissett was put in a better position to take his place as opposed to 2017, but the sudden and unexplained retirement of their franchise QB right before the season led to some fans to boo Luck as he left the field at Lucas Oil Stadium for the last time.
My favorite highlight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teNLH0p6WHs
Andrew Luck will forever be one of the greatest "what if?" stories in American sports history. Unlike many "what if?" stories, we got to see what we could have had with Luck. What the Colts had in Luck from 2012-14 along with 2018 was nothing short of incredible and it was clear he was improving to potentially become one of the greatest QBs in NFL history. Instead he's a tragic story where fans will forever be left to wonder what could have been with Andrew Luck. Would Luck have brought the Colts back to the Super Bowl if he he didn't play the majority of his career under the poor management of GM Ryan Grigson and HC Chuck Pagano? All we do know is that his sack rate under Grigson was 5.5%, and in one year on GM Chris Ballard's team it was 2.7%, coincidentally also one of his best statistical seasons. Peyton Manning's sack rate for his career? Tied for the NFL record with Dan Marino at 3.13%. Maybe if Luck had been better protected and coached better to avoid hits he could have made it up there with Manning, but as fans he'll forever be a "what if?" Luck seems like a smart and content man who's just starting a family, so I doubt he will ever return for any team. Even if he did we'll forever be robbed of what the best version of Andrew Luck could have been. However, in his short time here, he delivered enough incredible moments to give us hope and make us love the team. I, along with hopefully many other fans, will forever love Andrew Luck for his time with the Colts and am grateful for a helluva run.
1.Peyton Manning https://preview.redd.it/5lr1v2heg3b51.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=0b42edf31a7f2e4910e9adc0dcceb11b045a8630
|Years ||Record ||Playoffs ||Comp % ||Yards ||TDs ||INTs ||Y/A ||Rating |
|1998-11 ||141-67 ||9-10 ||64.9 ||54,828 ||399 ||198 ||7.6 ||94.9 |
How He Got Here
The Indianapolis Colts under Jim Harbaugh had finally established themselves as a legitimate team, but the Colts knew Harbaugh wasn't the long-term answer at QB. He was 35 going into the 1998 season and had just led the Colts to a 3-13 season, bad enough for the #1 overall pick. There was some debate about drafting Heisman finalist out of Washington, Ryan Leaf, but new GM Bill Polian made no doubt in the fact that he was drafting Peyton Manning. Leaf had some incredible athletic abilities, but there were some doubts raised about his ability to handle the mental aspects of the game. He also basically made the decision for the Colts when he skipped their draft interview, a passive-aggressive declaration he wouldn't play for the Colts. Peyton Manning, son of former Saints QB Archie Manning, was also a Heisman finalist out of Tennessee. No scout doubted Manning's ability to become a franchise QB in the NFL, but some wondered about his potential ceiling due to a complete lack of running ability and some arm strength concerns. However, he was clearly one of the most mature and mentally ready players to ever come out of college for any position.
"I'll leave you with this thought. If you take me, I promise you we will win a championship. If you don't, I promise I'll come back and kick your ass" -Peyton Manning to Colts GM Bill Polian on the day before the 1998 draft
The 1998 Colts were still a pretty bad team overall, and the rookie Manning was not enough to overcome that. He had one of the best statistical rookie seasons ever: 3,739 yards, 26 TDs, 28 INTs, 6.5 Y/A, and a 56.7% completion rate, setting records for yards, TDs, and INTs (yards and TDs are currently held by Andrew Luck and Baker Mayfield respectively). However, the deficiencies of the team and Manning's record number of interceptions helped give the Colts a 3-13 record, including a week 5 win over Ryan Leaf's San Diego Chargers.
Fortunately Manning helped lead one of the biggest turnarounds in NFL history in 1999, turning the 3-13 Colts in 1998 into the 13-3 Colts in 1999. People weren't exactly ready to give up on Manning after 1998, but 1999 was critical for showing Manning could improve and be at the helm of a winning team. Partially this was helped by sending Hall of Fame RB Marshall Faulk to St. Louis in exchange for the draft pick to select Hall of Fame RB Edgerrin James, who had a phenomenal rookie year. The Colts ended up losing to the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs, who had just completed the Music City Miracle the week before and would come within an ass hair of winning the Super Bowl against the Greatest Show on Turf St. Louis Rams.
Manning was up and down from 2000 to 2002, still posting good stats but missing the playoffs in 2001 ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oSFYxDGKy8
) and having first round exits in 2000 and 2002. Whispers started turning into legitimate arguments about how Peyton Manning was a good stats, dome team, regular season QB that just didn't have it in the playoffs. In 2003 Manning started his absurd streak of 12+ win seasons (7 years) and picked up his first MVP award, the first (and still only) Indy Colt to win it. He also got his first playoff wins in 2003, but was quickly put to shame in a 4 INT performance in the AFC Championship against the Patriots, now known by Colts fans as "The Ty Law Game."
The 2004 season is well known by Colts fans for cementing Manning among the all time greats. Manning was white hot all year, throwing for 4,557 yards 49 TDs, 10 INTs, and a 121.1 rating while only getting sacked 13 times. The 49 TDs was a record, which has since been broken by Tom Brady and Manning again while a member of the Broncos. Manning won MVP for the 2nd year in a row, but once again disappointed in the playoffs with a 0 TD, 1 INT performance against the Patriots in the divisional round, losing 20-3. Those arguments of Manning's postseason jitters were starting to feel more and more like reality for Colts fans. They knew they had their franchise QB, but his inability to perform in the playoffs continued to be baffling.
2005 was supposed to be the season that changed all that. Manning's numbers came back to earth somewhat, but he still posted a very efficient performance (104.1 rating) for a much improved overall team. GM Bill Polian had proved his days building the "Four Falls over Buffalo" Bills dynasty was no fluke, he now had a team with the #2 scoring offense and the #2 scoring defense. This was the year to break the Manning postseason curse. Unfortunately in one of the most upsetting games of my life, the Colts could not break that curse against the Steelers in the divisional round. Manning played relatively well: 58% completion rate, 290 yards, and 1 TD with no INTs, but watching the game the Colts struggled to maintain momentum and get stops against the rookie Ben Roethlisberger. Despite the inconsistent play, the Colts still had a shot. Steelers HoF RB Jerome Bettis attempted to ice the game with a goal line carry, but fumbled for the first time all year. With the entire Steelers offense stuffing the line, Colts CB Nick Harper was free to pick up the ball with a nearly open field ahead of him. Normally Nick Harper is one of the faster players on the field, however, as every Colts fan knows, Harper had been stabbed in the leg by his wife in a "supposedly accidental" altercation the night before. This possibly allowed the falling down Ben Roethlisberger to catch Harper by his shoe strings, preventing the nearly sure thing TD by Harper to put the Colts ahead. Instead Manning led the Colts into basically chip shot field goal position for one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history (Mike "Idiot Kicker" Vanderjagt) to tie the game. We all know what happened next. It was a shocking loss to say the least, and it was hard to blame it all on Manning, but it still felt like there was some sort of mystical VooDoo curse hanging over Manning and our franchise.
If the Colts couldn't win it all in 2005 it felt like they never would. 2006 wasn't looking like anything special compared to the past few seasons, especially considering the defense regressed from #2 in scoring in 2005 to #23 in 2006. Manning was still putting up great numbers, but those were starting to feel like an exercise in futility. Fortunately the Colts caught fire at the right time, with oft-injured All-Pro Safety Bob Sanders getting healthy towards the end of the season and the trade deadline addition of Buccaneers DT "Booger" McFarland. That momentum pushed them to an AFC Championship, where Manning would match up against the source of his ultimate playoff failures, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Fortunately, this time it was in the RCA Dome, not Foxborogh, MA. Manning and the Colts started off cold, being down 21-3 at one point after a Manning pick-6, but the Colts rallied behind some incredibly orchestrated drives by Manning to finally get the monkey off his back. On a last second drive, Manning drove the Colts down the field to put them ahead 38-34 with 1 minute to go. A Marlin Jackson interception of Tom Brady sealed it, Manning and the Colts were going to the Super Bowl for the first time in Indy history. Manning played well in the Super Bowl, winning the MVP against the league-best Chicago Bears defense.
Manning continued his solid play in 2007 and 2008, including his 3rd MVP in 2008. Both seasons ended with heartbreaking first round playoff exits to the San Diego Chargers, 2008's being the "Sproles and Scifres Game." 2008 also showed the first signs of physical weakness from Manning, having a knee surgery before the season that led to a slow start for the Colts. That was not the case in 2009, as Manning led the Colts to start the season 14-0. In a decision that's still derided today, new head coach Jim Caldwell decided to effectively bench Manning along with many other starters rather than go for the perfect season to prevent any injuries. Many had seen the Patriots in 2007 nearly complete the perfect season, but fall in heartbreaking fashion in the Super Bowl against a less talented Giants team. Caldwell, like many others, decided that any rust from not playing for nearly a month was worth the decreased risk of injury to his stars. That decision nearly backfired in spectacular fashion as the Colts were behind the New York Jets (a team they effectively let into the playoffs by letting them win in week 16) in the AFC Championship game until Manning led a furious comeback. It all ended poorly in the Super Bowl however as Manning threw a pick-6 to Tracy Porter that still haunts my dreams to Tracy Porter, allowing the Colts to lose to Drew Brees and his stupid baby and the New Orleans Saints.
2010 was one of the first signs of weakness from Manning. He had apparently injured his neck on this play in 2006 ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gjdmww3vgM
) on a hit that would now be extremely illegal. Manning apparently aggravated that injury in the lead up to the 2010 season, and it showed in the stats as he had how lowest rating since 2002 (91.9). For most other QBs a rating of 91.9 is a pretty solid season but for Manning it was a massive fall. This led to a quick playoff exit to the Jets in the first round. In the lead up to the 2011 season, Manning had several surgeries to relieve the pain in his neck which led to him missing the entire season. It was unknown if he would ever be the same QB again, or even play again. Manning's absence showed how incredibly important he was to the franchise, the only major difference between the rosters in 2010 and 2011 is Manning, yet the Colts went 10-6 in 2010 and 2-14 in 2011. This poor record led to the Colts earning the #1 pick in the 2012 draft, which fueled their decision to release Manning and draft a QB in 2012 (Chandler Harnish...and Andrew Luck).
My favorite highlight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DttfyOeU3vw
"Fellas, if 18 goes down, we're fucked, and we don't practice fucked." -Offensive Coordinator Tom Moore on why the backup QBs don't get more reps
Nothing to me cements Peyton Manning's role in Indy as much as this quote. Even his first 5 years before he became an all-time great, that was still the best sustained stretch of QB play in Indy Colts history. Once he ascended to another level in 2003, it was clear we needed to put every egg we could find into his basket. Manning was the perfect franchise QB: a steady presence on and off the field, consistent delivery of either incredible numbers or game winning performances (usually both), and he made nearly everyone else on the team a better player. His drive and commitment to team victory made him the guy every franchise needs if they want to field a consistently great team. Peyton had somewhat of an authoritarian leadership style, my way or the highway, but you can do that when you show that you're willing and able to give every ounce of yourself to the team and deliver the kind of results that he can.
I think some people are disappointed in the Manning Era considering how historically great his stats are but he was 1-1 in Super Bowls in 12 years here. Honestly I think that's not too far off for any all-time QB. Drew Brees is 1-0, Brett Favre is 1-1, Aaron Rodgers is 1-0, Fran Tarkenton is 0-3, Jim Kelly is 0-4, Dan Marino is 0-1, all of these guys are all-time great franchise QBs but it's not abnormal for them to only win 1 or lose several. There are some exceptions: Tom Brady (6-3), Joe Montana (4-0), Terry Bradshaw (4-0), and Troy Aikman (3-0), but honestly you could trade any of the former QBs for Terry Bradshaw and they would also probably be 4-0. There's lots of luck in every playing career, and some get luckier than others. The only season I'd say the Colts were "robbed" of a Super Bowl is 2005, otherwise I think Manning's Colts career went about as good as it could have.
Honorable Mentions: Matt Hasselbeck (5-3 record, probably our best backup ever) and Dan Orlovsky (just for saving us from a completely defeated season).
Dishonorable Mentions: Jeff George and Kerry Collins (being very bad at QB isn't very uncommon for Indy Colts QBs, but these guys were so bad and toxic they dragged down the abilities of everyone on the team and are actively hated by most fans)
Defending the Draft: New England Patriots
Preface submitted by Woodennickel20 to NFL_Draft [link] [comments]
Going into the 2019 season, the Patriots held very high expectations. The defense that had just shut down the high-powered 2018 Rams offense had arguably gotten better. Although the offense had lost Rob Gronkowski, the addition of first-round WR N’Keal Harry and free agent Demaryius Thomas seemed to at least keep their offensive options. Combining this with Sony Michel coming off a successful rookie campaign and 4 of 5 starters of a strong offensive line, with Trent Brown being replaced by 2018 1st round selection Isaiah Wynn, the offensive situation looked optimistic for New England.
As the team progressed through the 2019 preseason and into the season itself, things began to look even better. Although N’Keal Harry injured himself in the first preseason game, the team was eventually informed that Josh Gordon would be reinstated, even being allowed to start Week 1. The defense showed its prowess throughout the preseason, especially against the Lions and Panthers, with the only bad game coming against the Giants, when the Patriots mainly played people at the bottom of the depth chart. To add to New England fans’ excitement, they saw their team sign WR Antonio Brown the night before the team’s debut against the Steelers. As New England embarrassed Brown’s former team 33-3, and then the Dolphins 43-0 it seemed almost inevitable that New England would become the first franchise to win 7 Super Bowls.
However, that was not how the season progressed. Brown couldn’t handle himself even under Belichick’s control, and his decision to threaten the children of one of his accusers of sexual assault found him released from the team. Josh Gordon was injured Week 6 against the Giants, eventually being medically released and later found to have relapsed when he was on the Seahawks. The rest of the offense was riddled with injuries: Julian Edelman had nagging rib injuries, Philip Dorsett hurt his foot early in the year and also sustained a concussion, Mohammed Sanu sustained an ankle injury in his first game, early kick/punt returner Gunner Olsewski was injured in Week 7, Brady himself reportedly struggled with his elbow. The worst effects of injury came against the Offensive Line, as 4 out of the 5 starters sustained some injury, and this is not including the fact that C David Andrews missed the whole season because of pulmonary embolism. The most impactful injury out of this bunch was LT Isaiah Wynn, as the team had to deploy Marshall Newhouse to replace him, a role that Newhouse did not fill adequately, to say the least. Blocking also suffered when FB James Devlin suffered a season ending injury, followed by his backup Jakob Johnson also being put on IR only a few games later. Matt LaCosse and Ben Watson both missed multiple games, forcing the team to only roll with Ryan Izzo at tight end at some times.
These many injuries, as well as a terrible TE corps, not only stunted the passing attack but also crippled the running game. Michel was often met and tackled in the backfield, resulting in a terrible YPC despite being the AFC East’s leading rusher. Despite these offense struggles, the team’s excellent defense performance, in combination with facing many subpar offenses, carried the team to a 12-4 record and the 3rd seed in the AFC. However, the offensive struggles were too great for the team; although the team’s defense held the red-hot Titans offense to 14 points and gave the offense multiple chances to pull ahead, the offense failed to perform when needed, unable to finish drives, even when on Tennessee’s 1-yard line. Sometimes you really do need an offense to win a championship.
QB Tom Brady, FA, Buccaneers: The one loss that seemed unthinkable until it really happened. Even though we knew that Brady’s contract voided after this year, many fans thought he was still going to re-sign and finish his career here. However, New England really did not have the cap space to do so and build a satisfactory team around him, causing Brady to decide to sign with the Buccaneers, a team with high offensive potential and has a shot at the super bowl. The Greatest QB of All Time will be missed here in New England, as the team experiences uncertainty at the position for the first time in nearly 20 years.
FB James Devlin, Retirement: When it was announced that it was a neck injury that sidelined Devlin for the rest of the season, his future with the team was in doubt. Once the team signed free agent Dan Vitale, it was almost certain that Devlin would announce his retirement sooner or later. James Devlin was an underrated part of the Pats’ success in the 2010s, where he proved to be a reliable lead blocker, bolstering the effectiveness of New England’s run game. His absence for most of 2019 was palpable as the team consistently struggled establishing a run game, and the Patriots have a tall task of finding an effective replacement for him.
K Stephen Gostkowski, Released: Gostkowski’s departure represented another long-time Patriot staple leaving the team, although the Patriots had started to live without him as his season ended very early due to an injury that required surgery. The Patriots missed Gostkowski’s leg last year, as the team could not reliably score field goals longer than 40 yards, causing the offense to attempt 4th down conversions deep into enemy territory.
LB Kyle Van Noy, FA, Dolphins: One of Belichick’s greatest successes in terms of correctly utilizing players that were previously viewed as ‘busts’ because their coaches could not use them correctly. Van Noy was acquired from the Lions for a measly swap of 6th and 7th picks midway through the 2016 season. Throughout his tenure with the Patriots, especially within the last two seasons, Van Noy became a staple piece in the team’s LB corps with his versatility and great fundamentals. Van Noy now joins his former LB coach Brian Flores in Miami, who will likely maximize Van Noy’s potential.
LB Elendon Roberts, FA, Miami: Elandon Roberts joined his teammate Van Noy in joining Miami to be coached under Brian Flores. Roberts was promoted to captain for his final season in New England, and primarily played most of his defensive snaps as a run-defending thumping linebacker. Roberts also filled in as an emergency FB when both Devlin and Johnson were injured, and played decently well for a third-string FB, I guess. Roberts represents another role that the Patriots had to fill through free agency and the draft.
LB Jamie Collins, FA, Lions: The Patriots added a familiar face in the athletic freak Jamie Collins heading into the 2019 season. Collins’ athleticism allowed him to flash in the early parts of the 2019 season, when he obtained a pick-six at Miami and almost blocked a Bills field goal attempt by broad jumping over the Bills’ line. Like Van Noy, Collins heads to a former Patriots defensive coach in Matt Patricia in Detroit. Unlike the Dolphins, the Lions front office did not watch the second half of the 2019 season, where Collins tended to lose discipline and become a liability in the defense, showing off some of his former issues. I highly doubt Lions fans will think Collins is worth his $10 million APY contract
DT Danny Shelton, FA, Lions: Patriots North scoops up another Patriots player, what a surprise. Going into the 2019 preseason, Shelton seemed like he might be on the outside looking in for the Patriots roster. It looked like other tackles such as Mike Pennel had the ability to replace Shelton. However, Shelton impressed and was able to earn his spot on the team. The nose tackle’s primary role throughout the season was to be a run defender, a role he played quite well. Shelton will help add some strength to a Lions defensive front that played badly last year.
DB Duron Harmon, Traded, Lions: Duron Harmon was a long-time player at the safety position, filling in the role of the third safety while working alongside McCourty and Chung. He earned the nickname of “the closer” due to his performances at the end of matches where he would end the game through obtaining an interception. The Patriots quickly found their replacement for Harmon, most notably adding DB/ST Adrian Phillips, so there really isn’t much worry for him leaving the team.
OL Coach Dante Scarnecchia, Retirement: Arguably the greatest loss that the Patriots suffered outside of Tom Brady, the OL guru has again decided to retire. Scarnecchia is responsible for the Patriots having great offensive lines throughout his tenure and is a sometimes underrated aspect of their wild success. Unlike Scar’s previous retirement in 2014 where he was replaced by Dave DeGuglielmo, both Cole Popovich and Carmen Briscillo have experience being an understudy of Scarnecchia, which will likely help to soften the blow of his retirement. There were also rumors that Scar was still advising New England on scouting the OL position for the draft, so perhaps you can never keep this man away from this team.
Additions, Extensions, Retentions,
C David Andrews, Returning from IR: Although this technically does not fit this category, Andrews deserves to be mentioned. Even though Ted Karras played decently as he was thrust into the starting role, the Patriots felt Andrews absence, especially in the run game. Losing Andrews also likely contributed to the rest of the IOL (especially Mason, who played a lot of the season with a foot injury) not performing as well as they could have. Andrews' return will improve Jarrett Stidham’s performance, both through his protection as well as increasing the effectiveness of the Patriots’ rushing attack.
OG Joe Thuney, Franchise Tag: Bringing back Thuney was a wise move for the Patriots. The star left guard will be instrumental to protecting young quarterback Jarrett Stidham as well as ensuring the run game operates smoothly. Although some consider IOL to be a low-value position, Thuney will help the team acclimate to the other changes that happened around the offense. Having a solid line is an important element of building a good offense, and Thuney will ensure that the left guard position will work reliably.
DBs Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung: With Brady leaving, the Patriots found it valuable to keep long-time veterans around the team to maintain their team morale and culture while acclimating to the personnel change. McCourty has been a captain and locker room leader of the Patriots for quite some time and will be an important leader as the team adjusts to 2020. Both McCourty and Chung will feature in what should be a very strong secondary unit throughout the 2020 season.
DB/ST Adrian Phillips, FA: Boy do the Patriots love versatility special teamers! Phillips has played well as a special teamer and also played in many positions in the Chargers secondary, and will bring his veteran experience to the Patriots secondary. He will likely play in the rotation of safeties with Chung and McCourty, filling in a similar role to Harmon, who was traded the day before Phillips was signed.
DT Beau Allen, FA: The former Buccaneers DT will likely fill in as a replacement for Danny Shelton, who left the team to play for Detroit. Allen projects to play as a run-stuffing nose tackle that will ensure the Patriots can control the run.
FB Danny Vitale, FA: Vitale is an interesting signing. While he is listed as a fullback, he probably will not be a straight replacement for the retired James Devlin. Devlin primarily filled in as a lead blocker and sometimes as a rusher, but very rarely was used as a downfield threat. Vitale has some decent athleticism and pass-catching experience that the Patriots will likely utilize. His versatility may mean the Patriots move him around a lot instead of just using him as a lead blocker, though he has decent experience at that position as well.
LB Brandon Copeland, FA: Copeland was a signing the Patriots made to help account for the losses they had in free agency. The veteran LB recently played for the division rival Jets, where he primarily performed off the ball under Gregg Williams. Copeland brings some versatility and leadership as he has had to adapt from playing from the defensive line to off the ball.
WRs Marqise Lee and Dameire Byrd, FA: Byrd’s main attribute is straight-line speed, though he really has never been able to convert it into a high amount of production, in part due to injuries. Perhaps it’s because Dorsett was on this team for three straight years, but I am not going to bet on Byrd producing just because he has speed. Lee is much more interesting, as he was able to produce solidly during 2016-17. However, Lee has not performed nearly at all in the last two years because of injuries. If Lee can return to his pre-injury form, (though not very likely), he could carve out a pretty decent role on this New England roster.
2.37 Kyle Dugger, DB, Lenoir-Rhyne:
It wasn’t a surprise to many Patriots fans that the team elected to trade out of their first round pick, though some that held up hope the Patriots would make a selection might have been disappointed. Many fans wondered where the team would go with their first pick, and when it was announced that the team chose a DB from a division II school, people were initially exasperated.
Belichick’s record with 2nd round defensive backs is quite well known such that it has become a meme within the fanbase and around the NFL. His main success with the position in the second round was with Patrick Chung, and even he wasn’t very successful until his second stint. Obviously, we can’t declare a player a success or failure just because of prior trends or draft position and instead should look at the player himself if we are to make a judgement upon him.
Coming out of high school, Dugger only received offers from DII schools because he was very undersized. As he eventually grew into his frame in Lenoir-Rhyne, he elected to commit to the school that recruited him. Dugger is a hard-hitting player who most likely will transition to playing in the box as a safety for the Patriots, likely eventually taking over for aging veteran Patrick Chung.
What separates Dugger from many other defensive backs the Patriots have selected over the recent years is his athleticism. Dugger running a 4.49s 40, jumping 42 inches in the vertical jump and 134 in the broad jump while being 6’1” and 217 pounds presents a mixture of speed, size, and athleticism that is rare for a safety. The main aspect of his game that the Patriots need to work on is his transition to playing against NFL-level competition. Generally, the jump from a DI school to the NFL is quite large, the difference from DII to the NFL is even larger. It will likely take a year or two for Dugger to be ready to be a significant contributor on the defense as he adjusts to his new system. Adapting to these circumstances, the Patriots have ensured that Dugger will not have a lot of pressure to perform on defense early on through extending Chung and signing Phillips. Interestingly, Dugger’s coaching throughout his years at Lenoir-Rhyne has been inconsistent, he had to play under three different coordinators during his four years at the school. Hopefully with some great coaching and system stability with Bill and Steve Belichick Dugger can carve out his role as a future player in the secondary.
Perhaps to the disappointment of some Patriots fans, Dugger’s contributions early in his career will most likely be on special teams. Dugger had experience being a returner in college, and I would not be surprised if that becomes his primary role early on in his tenure. Dugger’s athletic ability gives him the potential to become a future star on the team if he can adapt to the NFL. Only time will tell whether he works out or becomes another player too add to the list of failed second round picks.
2.60 Josh Uche, OLB, Michigan:
Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio remarked that prior to day two, the Patriots had three players they had a priority on acquiring: Dugger was one of them, and Uche was the other that the Patriots were able to draft with their selections.
Like Dugger, Uche is an explosive athlete with great speed as well as motor. Due to enduring an injury in the senior bowl, he was unable to participate in the combine. However, his athleticism shows up on film. Uche is a very versatile player, being able to play both on the line as well as off the ball and his efforts got him named the most versatile player by PFF in their 2020 draft guide. Michigan DC Don Brown said that he put Uche in nearly every position on the defense. I am sure Belichick was quite happy when he saw the 245 pound linebacker in coverage downfield against Penn State WR KJ Hamler. Amongst his versatility, his pass rush ability is what truly stands out. His 23.2% pressure rate and 28.2% pass rush win rate were second in both categories in the FBS. Uche achieved these great statistics through his incredible getoff off the line as well as good hand placement combined with his fantastic athleticism. Don Brown stated that Uche’s primary motivation was to become the best pass rusher in the country, and the dedication and work that Uche put in to be amongst the best in the country showed throughout the 2019 season. The primary aspect of Uche’s game that he needs to solidify in order to increase his role on the Patriots is increasing consistency with run defense.
Uche marked the first of five consecutive selections the Patriots made that addressed pressing needs. Considering the amount of LB talent that left over the offseason, it is possible that Uche will see a decent amount of playing time on the defense, perhaps in a similar role to former Wolverine Chase Winovich, whom Uche now rejoins in New England. I see Uche likely being the second-most impactful rookie to play for the Patriots this season, helping to strengthen the team’s pass rush, resulting in a more effective pass defense overall.
3.87 Anfernee Jennings, OLB, Alabama:
Jennings’ selection serves as a nice complement to Uche’s. While Uche is this very athletic and undersized linebacker, Jennings better fits into the traditional, big, physical type of linebacker. Coming from Alabama, Jennings offers great fundamentals and football IQ that come from developing under Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban. While he may not be the most athletic or flashy player, Jennings will likely cement his role in the Patriots defense as a solid and reliable player, especially against the run. Jennings registered great production during his time at Alabama, leading edge defenders in FBS for run-stop rate at 12.6%. The Alabama product has often been compared to former Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy due to his ability to be a versatile piece across the line.
Jennings is a very persevering player as well. In 2018 he suffered a worrying knee injury. Fortunately, the injury did not prevent him from returning to the field, but Jenninngs had to put in a lot of effort in order to return to his previous form. Saban also complimented Jennings’s dedication to improving himself in practice sessions. Jennings likely projects as an edge defender who will play very well against the run while also sometimes dropping into coverage. Jennings will likely see a fair amount of action as a rookie, especially on rushing downs. While he may not have a high ceiling, Jennings will likely be an anchor of the Pats’ defense as he progresses through his contract.
3.91 Devin Asiasi, TE, UCLA:
On the offense, New England desperately needed to do something with their TE situation. Matt Lacosse may be a replacement level backup, but Ryan Izzo is not an NFL-caliber player. With very little cap space to address the position in free agency, the Patriots looked to the draft to fill their TE position. By selecting Asiasi in the third round, it is the first time the Patriots have spent a day two or higher pick on a tight end since 2010, when they selected Gronkowski.
Asiasi will likely become the Patriots number 1 option at the position. When looking at Bill Belichick’s 1991 scouting notes shared by Daniel Jeremiah, NBC analyst Phil Perry noted that Asiasi seems to fit the bill for the number one role. Devin Asiasi displayed great catching ability throughout his year starting at UCLA, only having one drop throughout the entire year. Asiasi also demonstrated great ability to run after the catch, averaging 5.6 yards in this category. Another ability that Asiasi brings as a TE that the Patriots sorely missed in 2019 is blocking. Even if Asiasi won’t perform as a great blocker (which is best reserved for #2 or #3 TEs anyway), it will most likely be better than the awfulness that was Patriot tight end blocking last year.
Asiasi was suspended for three games in the 2018 season for undisclosed reasons by Chip Kelly. However, Bill Belichick and the Patriots are on good terms with UCLA head coach Chip Kelly, meaning that they were able to confer with Kelly and confirm that Asiasi would be a good fit with the team and his suspensions were nothing to.worry about. Asiasi also possesses high football intelligence, being able to run complex concepts such as option routes in Kelly’s TE heavy offense. Even though Asiasi is undersized for what people normally think of a #1 TE , only being 6’3” and 257 lbs., his athletic ability and smooth movement should translate well into the NFL. Although Asiasi will likely be the starting Y-Tight End for the Patriots offense, I would not bet on him to break the trend of rookie TEs having low production, though Asiasi will definitely contribute in blocking.
3.101 Dalton Keene, TE, Virginia Tech:
The Patriots also repeated something that they did 10 years ago, which was taking two tight ends in the draft. Dalton Keene is an interesting prospect to project for the Patriots. His playstyle resembles that of an F or move tight end. Even Belichick admitted after drafting Keene that they would have work to do in terms of finding him a role on this team, since the role that Keene played in the Virginia Tech offense is nothing like anything the Patriots run in their offense.
If Keene seems to be such a confusing fit for the Patriots, then what made the team trade back up into the third round in order to select him. The most defining feature that Keene exhibits through his play is toughness. He is a very dedicated and ruthless player, oftentimes toughing it out through injury and not playing with high regard to his health while on the field. The aggressiveness that Keene displayed both during practice and games caused his teammates to give him the nickname of “Rambo”. Keene’s offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen called him the toughest player he has ever seen. Keene has never produced that much in the receiving game, only racking up 341 yards in his most productive receiving season. Perhaps given his athletic talent it suggests that Virginia Tech underutilized his ability in the passing game, instead placing more focus upon his ability in the run game instead. Keene will be a versatile player and likely fill multiple roles as the Patriots’ second tight end, primarily being used as that F tight end, move tight end, or perhaps H-back. He may in fact share similar duties to FB Danny Vitale. I would be more than happy if Keene and Asiasi can combine for about 600-700 receiving yards and a few touchdowns in their rookie year.
5.159 Justin Rohrwasser, K, Marshall:
Another need that the Patriots needed to fill during the draft or free agency was the kicker position. Many people expected the Patriots to take someone like Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia Southern kicker Tyler Bass, or Chase Vinatieri from South Dakota. When the Patriots selected Rohrwasser, a kicker who was so unknown that he didn’t even have a profile on the NFL’s website many people were confused.
What caused the Patriots to select this unknown kicker from Marshall. Rohrwasser displayed great performance throughout the 2019 season, having a statistically better season compared to the other higher profile kickers in the draft. Rohrwasser made 18 of 21 field goals and 35 of 36 XPs. He was perfect on kicks greater than 50 yards out, even hitting a clutch field goal from 53 yards against Western Kentucky after being iced twice. Belichickj stated that the Patriots have watched over 250 kicks and were impressed by his ability to kick in clutch situations as well as poor conditions, something Rohrwasser will have to do often in the AFC East. It is unclear whether Rohrwasser will relieve punter Jake Bailey of his kickoff duties (thought I think it’s more likely than not). If there is any position I trust Bill to evaluate, it’ s the placekicker. Rohrwasser will likely be the most impactful rookie on the patriots, mainly because he is the only surefire starter out of all of them. If Rohrwasser succeeds, the Patriots will be able to not go for fourth downs deep in enemy territory again and have a good kicker on a cheap rookie deal.
6.182 Michael Onwenu, OG, Michigan:
After addressing many immediate needs, the Patriots decided to take some shots at reserve linemen. Considering what happened in 2019, it is smart for the Patriots to add some young talent to the Offensive Line in order to account for things not going according to plan.
The first thing that strikes people when they look at Onwenu is his size. This man is HUGE, especially for an interior lineman. Coming in at 6’3”, around 350 lbs (he actually weighed closer to 370 during the season at college), Onwenu is a very physically imposing presence. He is very good at doing his job of not letting defenders get by him. During his past two years at Michigan, Onwenu played 1198 snaps, Onwenu only allowed 13 pressures and 2 sacks. He plays with great power and if he is able to get his hands on the defender, then it is over. Onwenu also possesses decent movement ability for his size; he will be able to perhaps do downfield blocking a bit better than people expect him to. Also, according to Michigan’s OL coach Ed Warriner, Onenwu really doesn’t have the ability to go much lower than 345 lbs.
Onenwu will start out on the team as a backup in the iOL, though more likely in his natural position of RG. Onenwu is quite different compared to New England’s other iOLs, he is 50 pounds heavier than the rest of our starting interiors. It will be interesting to see how Onwenu is able to execute the Patriots’ offensive scheme considering how physically different he is compared to Thuney, Andrews, and Mason. Either way, Onenwu will be a reliable depth piece that can protect Stidham if any of the starters go down.
6.195 Justin Herron, OG/OT, Wake Forest:
The second lineman that the Patriots invested draft capital in was Justin Herron. Herron started 51 games for Wake Forest, exclusively at the LT position. Herron’s experience at the position will likely slot him in as the primary backup to Isaiah Wynn, who has spent a lot of time of his career injured. Herron did suffer an ACL tear in the first week of the 2018 season, but rebounded quite well in 2019. Herron, like Onwenu, is a great pass-blocker. In 2017, the season prior to tearing his ACL, Herron allowed zero sacks. In 2019, when he recovered from his ACL injury, he only allowed four sacks and 13 pressures.
Some analysts raise questions about Herron playing tackle at the next level, instead projecting him as a guard. Interestingly, analysts made similar remarks about now-starting LT Isaiah Wynn. Considering that he only played left tackle during his time in college, I think the Patriots evaluated him and will use him as a tackle. If New England wanted an interior lineman, they likely would have selected someone else. Another concern that some have about Herron is his athleticism, which showed up at the combine, especially in his 8.41s three-cone drill. Scarnecchia often said the Patriots don’t care too much about athleticism in the OL, saying that they only needed to be athletic-enough. If the Patriots were that concerned about his athletic ability, he likely wouldn’t have been selected. Even so, it’s a great idea to grab a tackle who played solidly in college and will spend most of his rookie deal as a reserve player. This pick will be a success if Herron makes the team and can competently back up Wynn if he finds himself injured again.
6.204 Cassh Maluia, LB, Wyoming:
In the midst of the Patriots grabbing multiple offensive lineman, the Patriots selected another linebacker to increase their depth. During the 2019 season, Maluia went relatively under the radar due to his fellow linebacker and 65th overall pick Logan Wilson. However, those who studied Wilson likely saw Maluia pop out on a few occasions and make great plays. Maluia is an athletic and undersized linebacker, weighing in at only 231 lbs. His athleticism showed up both on tape and on the field, where Maluia displayed versatility across the field being able to both be a thumper as well as a decent coverage player. Maluia’s biggest concern is probably his tackling form, as his aggressiveness caused him to miss a fair amount of times. If Maluia makes the 53 man, he will likely contribute mostly as a special teams player, though his athletic ability might allow him to play a few snaps at defense.
7.230 David Woodard, C, Memphis:
With their final selection in the 2020 NFL draft, the Patriots threw a dart at another reserve lineman. Woodard played all across his the iOL throughout his college career, displaying the versatility that is desired in a backup lineman. Woodard does not have athletic testing available, though some analysts expressed concern about his athletic ability and his size, as Woodard only weighs 291 lbs. As detailed earlier, the Patriots generally concern themself more with technique than pure size and athleticism, and Woodard displays great technique. He graded out as the best run-blocking and second best pass-blocking center in 2019 through PFFs metrics. The Patriots will likely have to still improve Woodard’s technique to make him a future part of the team. Woodard projects as a reserve interior guy, particularly backing up C David Andrews if he makes the team.
Considering that a UDFA has made the New England roster for 16 straight years, I think it is appropriate to talk about some of the more interesting prospects in short. These are not all of the FAs the Patriots signed but some that I think are the most interesting and have the greatest chance to make the team.
For the QB position, the Patriots signed Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke and Louisiana Tech QB J’Mar Smith. Lewerke initially showed promise but a shoulder injury he suffered in 2018 really derailed his career. Smith is more interesting, as he displayed his athleticism throughout his career, as well as possessing great arm strength and ability to make flash off-platform throws. He was suspended for a game, but in his 11 starts he went 10-1 and won C-USA offensive player of the year. Neither QB really poses much threat to Stidham, but if one of them shows promise (especially Smith, who reportedly had a few offers from other teams), don’t be surprised if Belichick makes space for them on the 53 man roster.
For the WR position, which many people were surprised the Patriots did not take a shot at in the draft, the most interesting players are Auburn WR Will Hastings and Miami WR Jeff Thomas. Hastings was Stidham’s former slot receiver in college, racking up 26 receptions and 525 yards with the QB in 2017. Hastings tore his ACL prior to 2018, and Stidham missed his reliable option during the season. Hastings ran a 4.49s 40 and a blistering 6.64s 3-cone during his pro-day. Hasting’s connection with Stidham may allow for him to sneak onto the team. Thomas, on the other hand, mostly specialized as a deep threat for the Hurricanes. Even though he is undersized at 5’9 and 170 lbs, many scouts said he displayed draftable talent throughout his career. The aspect of Thomas that was more influential in making him a UDFA is his character concerns. Thomas has had an issue with nearly every coaching staff that he has interacted with, and got kicked off the 2018 team for attitude issues. If Thomas can pull himself together and realize that there are no more chances, he could transform into a future weapon for the Patriots.
Arizona RB J.J. Taylor is another interesting pickup for the Patriots. He is very short, coming in at only 5’5” tall (never in my life did I think I would be taller than a Pats player), but still manages to pack 185 lbs. Despite his size, Taylor is quite talented, displaying some decent shiftiness as well as the ability to bounce through contact. Perhaps because of his size and elusive playstyle, he has drawn comparisons to former Patriots RB Dion Lewis. If Taylor can show enough ability throughout the offseason, he might be able to get the Patriots to replace a RB, primarily Rex Burkhead, who many Pats fans theorize the team will cut for a few years now.
Ohio State TE Rashod Berry is another interesting player the Patriots picked up. He reportedly may change his position to OLB. Berry had some experience playing defense for Ohio State early in his career, though he did some snaps along the defense for a few games in his senior year. Many Ohio State fans say that Berry is a very athletic player who was underutilized by the Ohio State system. Wherever he plays, it will be interesting to see how his skill translates to the next level.
On the defensive side of the ball the Patriots were able to sign Auburn EDGE Nick Coe after negotiations between him and the Bills fell through. Coe was one of the top ranked free agents after the draft talent-wise, as he produced well in his first few seasons at Auburn. He is a much more prototypical big edge player the Patriots generally use in their system, but also has the versatility to play off the ball. However, Coe seems happiest playing as an edge rusher off the line. Coe’s main issue is his off-the field issues, where he feuded with his coaching staff over his assignments on the team, and also did not put in as much effort as a result. Coe is a very high-potential signing, but he will have to accept whatever role New England gives him if he wants to succeed.
The signing that gave the most guaranteed money went to Arkansas LB De’Jon Harris. Harris primarily plays as a thumping linebacker, which will likely be his role if he manages the Patriots. He has been theorized to fill a similar role to Elandon Roberts did last year (though likely not as a FB on offense). As a thumper, Harris’ best ability is tracking down and meeting the ball carrier, except he does suffer from some tackling issues.
The Patriots somehow managed to convince Bill Murray to join the team, where he will slot in on the defensive line. The DT from William & Mary displays good ability to be disruptive along the defensive line, though keep in mind that this was against FCS competition. Murray also managed to block 10 kicks during his tenure, something that Belichick is surely proud of. He reportedly is also a guy who is great at making his teammates laugh, perhaps like his celebrity counterpart. Considering that DL is a weaker position on the Patriots, Murray has a real shot to get on the team with his talent.
If I am going to talk about UDFAs that have a great chance of making the team, I am not going to overlook the secondary. The DB that the patriots signed this year was Washington’s Myles Bryant. Bryant is another undersized player, only coming at 5’8” and 183 lbs.. and primarily played free safety in 2019 after playing slot corner for the previous two years. Bryant showed good short-area quickness on the field as well as in athletic testing, running a 6.81s 3-cone. His greatest weakness is tackling, likely worsened by his small size. Bryant will need to improve his tackling if he wants to make the team. I also wanted to shout out 2019 UDFA UNM DB D’Angelo Ross, another undersized corner that showed some promise in the preseason prior to suffering a season-ending injury. I still don’t fully understand why Belichick spends so many premier picks on DBs when he can just pull great ones out of his rear nearly every year in the UDFA market.
Projecting the Patriots roster is especially difficult due to the amount of bodies at many positions such as OL, LB, and DB. This problem is exacerbated by the fact I haven’t seen anyone play yet or have the most recent updates on everyone’s health. I am not confident that this roster will be that accurate to the final roster that appears week 1.
QB (2) - Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer
RB (5) - Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Brandon Bolden, Damien Harris
FB (1) - Dan Vitale
WR (7) - N’Keal Harry, Mohammed Sanu, Julian Edelman, Marqise Lee, Jakobi Meyers, Matt Slater, Jeff Thomas
TE (2) - Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene
OL (9) - Isaiah Wynn, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Marcus Cannon, Yodny Cajuste, Justin Herron, Hjalte Froholdt, Michael Onwenu
DL (4) - Adam Butler, Beau Allen, Lawrence Guy, Byron Cowart
EDGE/LB (9) - Deatrich Wise, Chase Winovich, John Simon, Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings, Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Cassh Maluia, Brandon King
CB (6) - Stephon Gilmore, Joejuan Williams, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Justin Bethel,
S (5) - Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Adrian Phillips, Kyle Dugger, Terrence Brooks
K - Justin Rohrwasser
P - Jake Bailey
LS - Joe Cardona
KR and PR - Dugger
The Patriots enter a time of uncertainty that hasn’t existed in my lifetime. This 2020 squad is very hard to predict because of all the unknowns that exist all over the team, most notably at QB. It is possible that the Patriots perform better on the offense this year due to the sheer amount of players that are now healthy, especially alongside the offensive line. Although it is most likely the Patriots will not be a contender this year, depending on how well Stidham and the rest of the offense perform and develop, the team could bring itself into contention as early as 2021. I anxiously, but optimistically, await this team’s future.
Week 10 College Football Picks Packages. Get all our experts’ picks at once, right here. Collin Wilson’s 9 Favorite Bets; Our Staff’s 10 Favorite Bets; Most Popular Public Bets for Week 10; 3 Moneyline Underdogs to Bet; Positional Mismatches to Exploit; College Football Betting Tools, Tips. Keep these stories in your toolbox all season long. Expert College Football Betting Predictions & Picks for Week 10 Ohio State will win in Iowa but won’t cover that big number. Clemson will handle NC State. So, these should be part of your college football betting picks for Week 10. Week 10 Thursday college football picks West Virginia Mountaineers at No. 12 Baylor Bears (-17.5, 57 over/under), Thursday at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN) Undefeated Baylor has been one of the biggest College Football Week 10 ATS Betting Picks. Michigan Wolverines (-18 ½) at Maryland Terrapins in College Football Week 10 . Every time you think that the Michigan Wolverines are dead and buried, they bounce back with a bog win. Their hopes of a playoff spot died a couple of weeks ago with a loss to Penn State, but rather than rolling over and The model enters Week 10 of the 2019 season on a strong run, going 100-64 on all its top-rated college football picks. It also called Auburn (+10.5) easily staying within the spread against LSU in