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Final Top 50 Prospects – 2021 NFL Draft

Here are The Final Count’s top prospects as of April 2021.

*order changed monthly*

It was a blast to scout these prospects this offseason. Our 2022 Big Board will have 100+ players with a new format. Thanks for following along with our 2021 Monthly Big Boards as I evaluated the top talent in the draft.

Lawrence, TrevorQBClemson
Fields, JustinQBOhio State
Sewell, PeneiOTOregon
Pitts, KyleTEFlorida
Chase, Ja’MarrWRLSU
Waddle, JaylenWRAlabama
Wilson, ZachQBBYU
Surtain II, PatrickCBAlabama
Lance, TreyQBNorth Dakota St
Smith, DevontaWRAlabama
Paye, KwityDEMichigan
Horn, JayceeCBSouth Carolina
Christian DarrisawOTVirginia Tech
Slater, RashawnIOLNorthwestern
Bateman, RashodWRMinnesota
Ojulari, AzeezDEGeorgia
Parsons, MicahOLBPenn State
Basham Jr, CarlosDTWake Forest
Phillips, JaelanDEMiami (FL)
Moehrig, TrevonFSTCU
Owusu-Koromah, JeremiahILBNotre Dame
Myers, JoshOCOhio State
Collins, ZavenOLBTulsa
Harris, NajeeRBAlabama
Davis, WyattOGOhio State
Barmore, ChristianDLAlabama
Cisco, AndreFSSyracuse
Jones, MacQBAlabama
Browning, BaronOLBOhio State
Cosmi, SamuelOTTexas
Gregory RousseauDEMiami (FL)
Toney, KadariousWRFlorida
Nixon, DaviyonDLTIowa
Samuel Jr, AsanteCBFlorida State University
Farley, CalebCBVirginia Tech
Williams, TrillCBSyracuse
Hubert, WyattDEKansas State
Leatherwood, AlexOTAlabama
Rondale MooreWRPurdue
Etienne, TravisRBClemson
Jones II, PatrickDEPittsburgh
Perkins, RonnieDEOklahoma
Sample, CamDTTulane
Moses, DylanILBAlabama
Collins, NicoWRMichigan
Humphrey, CreedOGOklahoma
Mayfield, JalenOTMichigan
Tufele, JayDTUSC
Marshall, Terrace Jr.WRLSU
Adebo, PaulsonCBStanford

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Breaking down the positives of Justin Fields game and how he will translate well to the NFL

It was the second quarter of the College Football Playoff Semifinal Game in 2020. Justin Fields is escaping pressure and gets walloped by Clemson linebacker James Skalski. The play is deemed targeting and Skalski is ejected. Fields, clearly in pain, lights Clemson up for 22 of 28 passes for 385 yards and six touchdowns in a riveting 49-28 victory. That’s a slight glimpse into Fields. The toughness, character, and heart are more poignant than his talent, delivered weekly throughout his time at Georgia and Ohio State. He’s set to be in the NFL Draft in 2021, and while the ’21 class is loaded at the quarterback position, he will end up being the best out of the class when it’s all said and done. 

If you’ve watched Fields play quarterback, you know he’s specifically good at three things: arm strength, timing and composure. 

Fields ability to throw the ball down the field in a variety of different ways is extraordinary. He can deliver passes between the hashes and put some loft on the ball and send it deep. Even with his immense arm strength, he shows the ability to put touch on the ball, which makes it much easier for his receivers to reel catches in. Another dynamic of Fields arm strength is the accuracy that comes with it. In 2019, he noticeably struggled with precision for most of the season when his timing was off. In 2020, we saw a vast improvement in ball placement, which led to fewer mistakes and Ohio State could open the playbook even more. Even in the two games he struggled against Indiana and Northwestern, it was more because of decision-making than accuracy. 

Image result for justin fields olave
Olave (right) and Wilson (bottom of screen) were two of Ohio State’s biggest deep threats this season. Both receivers had over 700 yards receiving in just 7 games.

Timing is crucial to his skillset. Throughout his career, it’s been what makes or breaks his game. In the 2020 Big Ten championship game against Northwestern, Fields struggled with timing and as a result, he had a brutal game. Besides that, his junior campaign was filled with precision passing that was on time. There was noticeable difference in his vision especially down the field compared to his 2019 season. Fields threw bullets into tight windows even while the receiver was in his stride, which is about as hard a throw to make in football. Those will be the kind of plays he needs to make at the next level, as separation from cornerbacks is not as easy to come by in the National Football League as it is in college football. 

His timing has assisted his vision on the field. Fields is often criticized in the media for sticking on one receiver with his eyes, resulting in sacks and interceptions. His field vision could be something that is questioned by NFL scouts, and it’s been a frequent flaw in his game. The work in the 2020 offseason showed up on tape. Fields was more active at the line of scrimmage, and there was noticeable blitz pickups and changes at the line. In turn, Fields was more confident in his vision, and increased his ability to scan the field. Ohio State head coach Ryan Day mentioned how much time he spent in the film room with his quarterback in the offseason after the Buckeyes 2019 College Football Playoff loss to Clemson. Fields threw an interception late in the fourth quarter of that game to seal the win for Clemson. With coach Day’s NFL background, we can assume Day has been mentoring Fields and preparing him for the next level. That kind of professional influence can be hard to get at some programs in the college ranks, and it showed through Fields ability to correct 2019 mistakes in 2020 play.

At the next level, composure can be why most quarterbacks don’t last more than a year.

Composure is crucial for a quarterback. It can mean several things, but for one, keeping your eyes down the field while sensing pressure is so important and an accurate measure of a quarterbacks composure. Fields composure greatly improved throughout the 2020 season, and it was a big reason the Buckeyes made it to the National Championship. Fields showed great composure in that game against Alabama, as the Crimson Tide defense came fast and heavy on their blitz packages, frequently causing confusion among the Buckeye front.

At the next level, composure can be why most quarterbacks don’t last more than a year. It’s important not to abandon the passing game and start running as soon as you see pressure. A receiver could get open as soon as you abandon the pass, and then you risk losing yardage instead of a positive throw to a receiver. Simply throwing it away is also a good measure of composure, especially when there is no one open. Losing yardage because you hold the ball for too long is a mistake that young quarterbacks can make. 

Image result for justin fields running

While he may not be quarterback one on most big boards, Justin Fields has shown significant improvement in his career, especially the last two seasons, which is reason to believe he’s coachable and willing to learn from his mistakes. There’s a good chance an NFL head coach sees that and falls in love with his game.  

Arm strength, composure, and timing apply to current NFL stars like Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers. Not that Fields is already at that level, but it shows how critical those traits are for an NFL quarterback to have. It’s plausible that Fields can have that type of career as a pro. Traits are essential when you’re scouting a player because there is so much interference like game plan and teammates in the college game. Fields continued to show how he’s excelled at those crucial skills in his collegiate career. 

“If a team does that, he has the chance to explode in his rookie season and beyond that.”

No matter where he is drafted, Fields needs to be in a system designed to get the most out of his strengths, much like Trevor Lawrence. Allow him to utilize both his arm strength and running ability, with lots of RPO and a deep passing game. If a team does that, he has the chance to explode in his rookie season and beyond that. Besides the system, Fields has shown the ability to make plays on his own, which elite quarterbacks desperately need to do when things aren’t going the team’s way. Building around him will be crucial to his success but his dynamic playmaking ability can be prevalent in the ever-evolving NFL game. 

The 2021 NFL draft is set to take place from April 29th till May 1st

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Top 50 Prospects – February 2021

Here are The Final Count’s top prospects as of February 2021.

*order changed weekly (2.12.21)

Image result for trevor lawrence pro day
Lawrence, TrevorQBClemson
Fields, JustinQBOhio State
Sewell, PeneiOTOregon
Chase, Ja’MarrWRLSU
Wilson, ZachQBBYU
Waddle, JaylenWRAlabama
Pitts, KyleTEFlorida
Surtain II, PatrickCBAlabama
Parsons, MicahOLBPenn State
Smith, DevontaWRAlabama
Lance, TreyQBNorth Dakota St
Paye, KwityDEMichigan
Christian DarrisawOTVirginia Tech
Farley, CalebCBVirginia Tech
Collins, ZavenOLBTulsa
Horn, JayceeCBSouth Carolina
Basham Jr, CarlosDTWake Forest
Slater, RashawnOTNorthwestern
Bateman, RashodWRMinnesota
Phillips, JaelanDEMiami (FL)
Barmore, ChristianDLAlabama
Moehrig, TrevonFSTCU
Myers, JoshOCOhio State
Davis, WyattOGOhio State
Harris, NajeeRBAlabama
Ojulari, AzeezDEGeorgia
Cisco, AndreFSSyracuse
Jones, MacQBAlabama
Cosmi, SamuelOTTexas
Owusu-Koromah, JeremiahILBNotre Dame
Browning, BaronOLBOhio State
Gregory RousseauDEMiami (FL)
Toney, KadariousWRFlorida
Nixon, DaviyonDLTIowa
Samuel Jr, AsanteCBFlorida State University
Williams, TrillCBSyracuse
Hubert, WyattDEKansas State
Leatherwood, AlexOTAlabama
Mayfield, JalenOTMichigan
Etienne, TravisRBClemson
Rondale MooreWRPurdue
Jones II, PatrickDEPittsburgh
Ford, ParisSSPittsburgh
Sample, CamDTTulane
Moses, DylanILBAlabama
Collins, NicoWRMichigan
Humphrey, CreedOGOklahoma
Tufele, JayDTUSC
Marshall, Terrace Jr.WRLSU
Adebo, PaulsonCBStanford
Featured

2021 NFL Draft Profile: Emmanuel Rugamba

CB – Emmanuel Rugamba – Miami (OH)/Iowa – RS SR – 5’11 – 194lbs

Overview: Emmanuel Rugamba is a solid cover cornerback that can also make tackles in the open field. He is dynamic in coverage and is great at using his lower body to stop on a dime and drive up the field towards the receiver. He has a smooth back pedal that can transition into a full sprint. He’s quicker than most receivers he covers, so he has the advantage of playing more instinctively.  He is able to do well against bigger wideouts because of his tackling ability. He’s not afraid to step up and make a tackle or blitz the quarterback. Strength should be talked about when evaluating Rugamba’s game. You will not see him get out muscled at the line of scrimmage. He has natural strength that has elevated his game in his senior season. He has a real feel for what the receiver will do when he drops in coverage and it shows up when evaluating his film. Rugamba will find a camp and get a chance with a National Football League team. 6th round grade. 

Miami RedHawks DB Emmanuel Rugamba opts out, declares for 2021 NFL Draft |  News Break

Background: In 2019, Rugamba was third team All-MAC and MAC Championship Defensive Player of the Game. He played in 13 games and finished the year with 85 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, one interception and eight pass break-ups. Rugamba transferred to Miami (Ohio) in 2018 and missed the season due to transfer rules. In 2017 at Iowa, Rugamba was named Preseason fourth team All-Big Ten by Athlon Sports. During the season, Rugamba recorded 36 tackles, four pass break-ups and one recovered fumble. As a Freshman at Iowa in 2016, Rugamba saw action in 12 games. In those games, he recorded 13 solo tackles and six assists, along with two interceptions, and four pass break-ups. Rugamba went to Naperville Central for high school. He was named Chicago Tribune first-team all-state and he was a team captain as a senior.. He was unanimous first-team all-conference and all-area as a senior. He had 112 receptions for 1,615 yards and 11 touchdowns and on defense recorded 30 solo tackles and 15 assists with six interceptions and eight pass break-ups as a senior.  The team posted a 10-2 record and reached the state quarterfinals when he was a senior. He also reached the state quarterfinals as a junior with a 9-3 record. Rugamba was fortunate to be a member of the state championship team as a sophomore. He is the son of Daniella Umutanguha. He is a sport leadership and management major. https://miamiredhawks.com/sports/football/roster/emmanuel–rugamba/6499

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2021 NFL Draft Profile: Ambry Thomas

Michigan football favorite photos of cornerback Ambry Thomas NFL draft

Ambry ThomasCBMichigan6’0 182lbs

Hometown: Detroit, MI

High School: Martin Luther King

Scouting Report: Thomas is a dynamic man to man corner with some phenomenal athletic ability and great instincts in coverage. There were times on film that his instincts in coverage hopped off the screen. He will never have a problem in the NFL with speed, as he’s a great runner with twitchy hips and swift feet. He had three interceptions in 2019, but front offices should not be worried about Thomas’ production. He is a natural cover corner and makes it challenging for receivers to find a window. Therefore quarterbacks thought twice about throwing his way. In the NFL, he will excel because of his ability to give no leverage to wideouts. He is a solid tackler who can make plays in the open field. Thomas is great when the ball is in the air and is able to make plays on it. I expect him to have big days at combine and pro days to raise his stock. Round 6-7 grade.

Analyzing Michigan CB Ambry Thomas after his declaration | PFN

2019: 38 tackles, 3.0 for loss, seven pass breakups, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries 

NFL Draft: https://thefinalcount.blog/2021-nfl-draft/

Film:

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2021 NFL Draft Profile – Ja’Marr Chase

WR – LSU – 6’0/207lbs

Hometown: Harvey, LA

High School: Archbishop Rummel High School

Scouting Report: It is not far fetched to call Ja’Marr Chase the best athlete in this draft class. He has the size, strength, and speed to get by any defender on the field. He plays way bigger than 6’0 and has great feet that allow him to separate with ease. He’s dynamic enough to be great when he has the chance to utilize his frame and also leave defenders behind with his straight ahead speed. Chase is wonderful at shifting his hips and feet while remaining under control. He possesses big hands and provides a big catch radius for his quarterback. Chase has elusiveness in the open field when being pursued by defenders. He has big hands that have allowed him to catch everything thrown his way. Chase will fight for every ball thrown his way and he is aggressive as hell with everything he does on the football field. He has opted out of the 2020 season and is declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft. He is by far my WR1 and will be given a 1st round grade.

JA’MARR CHASE: SCOUTING REPORT. EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW.

2019 Stats

84 receptions, 1,780 yards, 21.2 avg, 20 TD, 78 LNG

Awards: SEC Record Holder for Receiving Touchdowns in a Season (20), SEC Record Holder for Receiving Yards in a Season (1,780), Biletnikoff Award Winner, 2019 Unanimous All-American, 2019 First-Team All-American,

TFC Big Board Position: 3

NFL Draft: https://thefinalcount.blog/2021-nfl-draft/

Clips:

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2021 NFL Draft Profile – LT Penei Sewell

Sewell, Penei – LT – Oregon – 6’6/331lbs

Hometown: Malaeimi, American Samoa

High School: Desert Hills HS (Utah)

Notes: Penei Sewell finished his college career with one of the most impressive seasons a left tackle has ever had in the NCAA. He is tough as nails and plays with a mean streak. He can knock defensive ends to the ground with a simple punch. He has great technique in his run blocking and when he pass protects. His feet are always balanced and move with a purpose. Adding the fact that he’s athletic for his size and can out muscle most defensive lineman, he’s definitely a hot commodity amongst NFL teams.

Flaws are hard to find in Sewell’s game. You look to critique hips and movement with big left tackle’s, as you expect a relatively slow athlete. This is the farthest from the truth with Sewell. He is as athletic as a tight end and has the film to back it up. Oregon often had him go to the second level, which many left tackles are not asked to do. Having just turned 20, Sewell looks to have his best playing days ahead of him.

He is projected as a top 5 pick, but I could see him being selected as high as 3 if a team is needy for an LT. Sewell has the looks of a dynamic pass blocker who can be a rock for an NFL offensive line for years.

Penei Sewell 2021 NFL Draft Profile

2019 awards: Outland Trophy Winner, Finished sophomore campaign as the top-graded offensive lineman in PFF history (since 2014), Unanimous first-team All-American. For more: (Go Ducks)

TFC Big Board Position:

NFL Draft: https://thefinalcount.blog/2021-nfl-draft/

Clips:

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2021 NFL Draft Profile: QB Justin Fields

Justin Fields – QB – Ohio State – 6’3/228lbs

Hometown: Kennesaw, GA

High School: Harrison High School

Scouting Report: Justin Fields is a dynamic prospect at the quarterback position. His unique combination of size and athleticism allow him to be a dominant runner, particularly from QB draws and other designed runs. Fields also has one of the best arms, if not the best, in the 2021 NFL Draft. He has great footwork and balance that allow him to launch the ball deep. Fields does a nice job of keeping his eyes down the field and the QB goes through his progression well during the play. This allows him to share the ball and throw it to multiple receivers during the entirety of the ball game. Fields can fit into any type of NFL offense but the way Ohio State operates out of both shotgun and under center suits his versatility. Coaches should look to place him in a system that utilizes zone-read concepts, as he thrives with a playbook that uses his feet as an added weapon.

2019: 3,373 yards, 41 TD’s, 67.2 completion %, MVP Big Ten Championship Game, Passer efficiency rating of 181.43, Heisman Trophy finalist, Big Ten Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year and Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year, Davey O’Brien Award finalist, First Team All-Big Ten (coaches and media)

2020: TBA

TFC Big Board Position: 2

NFL Draft: https://thefinalcount.blog/2021-nfl-draft/

Clips:

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2021 NFL Draft Profile: QB Trevor Lawrence

Trevor Lawrence – QB – Clemson – 6’6/220lbs

Hometown: Cartersville, GA

High School: Cartersville High School

Notes: Lawrence has been touted as a top NFL prospect since his first snap at Clemson. He’s the perfect combination of arm strength and accuracy. Lawrence is great at keeping his eyes down the field. He rarely panics when he is rolling out of the pocket and is willing to wait for routes to develop. He is exceptionally good at putting his receivers in positive positions after the catch. Trevor has great feet in the pocket and rarely makes inaccurate throws because of his mechanics. Lawrence is tough as nails and can take hits. His physical attributes at (6’6 220) are perfect for the quarterback position in the NFL. He can stay on his feet well and provides exceptional body control. Lawrence could use some work on his deep balls, as he sometimes misses where the receiver is expecting the ball.

2019 stats: 268/407, 3,000 yards, 36 TD, 65.8 completion %

TFC Big Board Position: 1

NFL Draft: https://thefinalcount.blog/2021-nfl-draft/

Clips:

Vs. LSU

Vs. Texas A&M

Vs. OSU

Vs. Virginia

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2021 NFL Draft Profile: CB Patrick Surtain II

Patrick Surtain II – CB – Alabama – 6’2 202lbs

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL

High School: American Heritage

Notes: Patrick Surtain II is such a dynamic prospect at cornerback. At 6’2, Surtain II has elite size that most NFL team’s will value highly. Surtain can play in any scheme. Surtain’s best trait is his ability to play the ball. He is also very smart on the field and will often be in the right spot at the right time. Patrick Surtain needs to work on his quickness on short routes. Reading the receiver quicker on slants, outs, and other short-intermediate routes will result in higher quality reps, especially in the NFL.

2019 stats: 42 tackles, 1 for loss, 2 int, 8 PB, 3 FF, 1 FR.

TFC Big Board Position: 4

NFL Draft: https://thefinalcount.blog/2021-nfl-draft/

Clips:

Vs. Arkansas

Vs. Texas A&M

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2020 NFL Predictions: Division Winners, Breakout Players, Postseason surprises, and much more

FINALLY! The NFL season is here and that means meaningless NFL predictions make their way onto the timeline.

Right here, right now, I’ve got predictions for:

·      Team records

·      Postseason predictions

·      Awards

·      Breakout players

·      Disappointing players

·      BOLD predictions

·      Which head coaches get fired

So let’s get started…

TEAM RECORDS

NFC EAST

Eagles: 10-6 (3)

Cowboys: 8-8

Giants: 5-11

Washington: 3-13

NFC SOUTH

Buccaneers: 12-4 (1)

Saints: 11-5 (5)

Panthers: 6-10

Falcons: 6-10

NFC WEST

Cardinals: 12-4 (2)

Seahawks: 11-5 (6)

49ers: 8-8 (7)

Rams: 7-9

NFC NORTH

Packers: 10-6 (4)

Vikings: 8-8

Lions: 7-9

Bears: 5-11

AFC EAST

Dolphins: 10-6 (3)

Bills: 9-7 (6)

Patriots: 6-10

Jets: 3-13

AFC SOUTH

Colts: 10-6 (4)

Texans: 8-8

Titans: 8-8

Jaguars: 1-15

AFC WEST

Chiefs: 12-4 (1)

Broncos: 9-7

Chargers: 7-9

Raiders: 4-12

AFC NORTH

Ravens: 11-5 (2)

Steelers: 11-5 (5)

Browns: 9-7 (7)

Bengals: 5-11

NFC PLAYOFFS

Wild Card:

Saints (5) @ Packers (4) = Packers win

Seahawks (6) @ Eagles (3) = Eagles win

49ers (7) @ Cardinals (2) = Cardinals win

Divisional Round:

Packers (4) @ Buccaneers (1) = Buccaneers win

Eagles (3) @ Cardinals (2) = Cardinals win 

NFC Championship:

Cardinals (2) @ Buccaneers (1) = Buccaneers win

AFC PLAYOFFS

Wild Card:

Steelers (5) @ Colts (4) = Steelers win

Bills (6) @ Dolphins (3) = Dolphins win

Browns (7) @ Ravens (2) = Browns win

Divisional Round:

Browns (7) @ Chiefs (1) = Chiefs win

Steelers (5) @ Dolphins (3) = Steelers win

AFC Championship:

Steelers (5) @ Chiefs (1) = Chiefs win

Super Bowl 55:

Chiefs (1) @ Buccaneers (1) = Chiefs win

AWARDS

MVP: Kyler Murray

OPOY: Russell Wilson

DPOY: Darius Leonard

OROY: Tua Tagovailoa

DROY: Isaiah Simmons

Comeback: Ben Roethlisberger

Coach: Brian Flores

BREAKOUT PLAYERS

Kyler Murray, Miles Sanders, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown

Kyler Murray: DeAndre Hopkins will be a big reason why, but I believe Murray has the best opportunity to make the biggest second-year-jump we’ve seen with quarterbacks over the years.

Miles Sanders: Eagles are going to ride Miles Sanders all season long, especially with the offensive line in flux.

Marquise “Hollywood” Brown: He has the swagger teams wish they had in all of their players. Brown said he’s gained a lot of muscle this offseason and still didn’t lose any speed. Watchout!

DISAPPOINTING PLAYERS

Cam Newton, Derek Carr, Ryan Tannehill

Cam Newton: I don’t see a player as free-spirited as Newton gelling with a coach like Belichick who seems to be the “my way or the highway” type. Newton’s best days are behind him and his body can no longer last a full season.

Derek Carr: This is the year where Jon Gruden gets fed up with Derek Carr, who seems to always try to impress his coach, but gets no love in return.

Ryan Tannehill: He’s a backup quarterback at best. Teams will be a lot more prepared for him this year and he got paid– he’s got nothing to worry about anymore. Tannehill will go back to his old self sooner rather than later.

BOLD PREDICTIONS

  1. Tua takes over for Ryan Fitzpatrick and leads the Dolphins to the division crown and a playoff win
  2. Cardinals clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC
  3. Mike Mayock will be flushed out as GM after he and Jon Gruden “mutually part ways over the disagreement of the team’s direction.”
  4. Philip Rivers gets benched in favor of Jacoby Brissett who leads the Colts to the playoffs
  5. Zero games get postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic
  6. Drew Lock solidifies himself as a franchise quarterback
  7. Jets clean house, trade Sam Darnold to Tennessee, and draft quarterback Trey Lance from North Dakota State University.
  8. Dak Prescott requests a trade, lands in Pittsburgh, after Big Ben finally retires.
  9. Cam Newton retires
  10. Nick Chubb will win the rushing title

FIRED HEAD COACHES

  • Doug Marrone
  • Matt Patricia
  • Matt Nagy
  • Adam Gase
  • Dan Quinn’
Featured

NFL 2020 Divisonal Predictions and Preview

On Thursday night, the 2020 season oficially kicks off in Kansas City as the Chiefs and Texans prepare to square off. It’s going to be a tough season to predict. So much time in the offseason was taken away by COVID-19, that teams have had to prepare for a season with less than a month of practice time and no preseason games.

A lot is different from the2019 offseason, from roster building to the way practice and training camp are run. It will be beneficial to the players to get back to the games as soon as possible to try and develop some sort of rythym. Although it isn’t a shortened season, you can’t relax through weeks 1-4 and get your legs back. Whoever has the hottest start in any division will end up in a great spot midway through the season.

The challenges that goal will bring are daunting, but it will be sure to level the playing field. I’m going to predict who I think will be winning each division with a short explanation why.

AFC East: Patriots

It’s just not logical to doubt HC Bill Belichick when things are murky. Signing Cam Newton will elevate the composure in which the Pat’s offense operates this season. If Cam gets back to his old ways, there’s no question the Patriots will run away with the division.

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) bobbles the ball as quarterback Brian Hoyer (2) looks on during an NFL football training camp practice, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)

AFC North: Ravens

QB Lamar Jackson proved to everyone why he’s the best mobile QB in the game right now. The changes on both sides of the ball could scare most people in a shortened offseason, but the addition of DT Calais Campbell on that already talented defense is sure to make a difference.

AFC South: Titans

It’s going to be interesting if the offsensive game plan continues to be smash mouth football. QB Ryan Tannehill proved last season that he’s willing to sling it and saving Derrick Henry for late season carries should be the main focus for the offense this season. This was a no-brainer picking the Titans after the Jadaveon Clowney signing. Adding an elite pass rusher a week before the season starts is a move only real contenders make. Titans GM Jon Robinson did a nice job addressing needs this offseason.

AFC West: Chiefs

I think the lack of Super Bowl parties this offseason has the Chiefs hungry for a repeat. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is fresh off of his new deal and there is a boat load of returning starters on both sides of the ball. If the Chiefs just continue to play their game, there’s no question they will repeat in the AFC West.

NFC East: Eagles

The biggest thing I liked about the Eagles offseason is the fact that they addressed the speed needs on the outside for QB Carson Wentz. They brought in WR’s Marquise Goodwin and Jalen Reagor and solidied the defense with CB Darius Slay and DT Javon Hargrave. HC Doug Pederson being the only retuning coach in the NFC East this season has me confident that he will lead the Eagles to the division title.

ROOK JALEN REAGOR SURE FILLING THE EAGLES NEED FOR SPEED! | Fast Philly  Sports

NFC North: Lions

Hear me out. QB Matthew Stafford is now the best quarterback in the NFC North after Packers QB Aaron Rodgers subpar season in 2020. Lions GM Bob Quinn and HC Matt Patricia have to win the division to keep their jobs. It’s all setting up for a story book season. Detroit will bring the division home.

NFC South: Buccaneers

It’s officially the TB12 show in Tampa. That offense is absolutely star studded and it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch. But the biggest thing thats stands out for me is that front 7 on defense. They can flat out ball and it will be a lot of fun to watch them next season, especially since they made that their early offseason priority.

NFC West: 49ers

Is it crazy to think the 49ers enter the 2020 season angry? They played great football last season and lost a thrilling Super Bowl in 2019 to the Chiefs. But we have only heard the Chiefs, Ravens, and Buccaneers in the Super Bowl conversation. San Francisco’s defense is as good as ever and expect QB Jimmy Garoppolo to take a big step forward in 2020.

Here's the crazy story behind 49ers running back Raheem Mostert's playoff  breakout

See you Thursday night.

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TFC Mock Draft 3.0 – Las Vegas gets a receiver, Miami picks OL late, Trades and Sleepers

HERE IT IS! My final NFL Mock Draft (with trades) of 2020. To be honest, I would be extremely surprised if I didn’t get this 100 percent correct.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow – QB – LSU

Image result for burrow

It’s time to move on from Andy Dalton and restart the franchise with a new signal-caller. Burrow is an Ohio kid, was the best college football player this past season, and checks (almost) all the boxes. If I were Cincinnati, I would take Tua Tagovailoa, who was more consistent in college.

2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young – DE – Ohio State

Chase Young says he's 'definitely' the No. 1 prospect in the 2020 ...

Ron Rivera didn’t interview anywhere else besides Washington, solely because of the No. 2 overall pick. Rivera realizes he has a potential future Hall of Famer in his grasp, this is a no-brainer. 

3. TRADE! Lions to Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa – QB – Alabama

josh houtz on Twitter: "If things do work out and the #dolphins ...

The latest rumor out there is the Dolphins are trying to trade up for an offensive tackle. I’m not buying that, instead they’re going to do the right thing and trade up for the best player in the draft. Tua will be a better player than Joe Burrow. 

4. New York Giants: Jedrick Wills – OT – Alabama

Jedrick Wills Jr.: 3 facts on the NFL Draft prospect, Alabama lineman

The Giants have to do all they can to protect Daniel Jones and help Saquon Barkley. Wills is the best tackle in the draft and comes from a program Joe Judge is very familiar with.

5. Detroit Lions (via Miami): Jeff Okudah – CB – Ohio State

Could the Raiders trade up for Ohio State CB Jeffrey Okudah?

After trading away Darius Slay to the Eagles, the Lions have to find a replacement. Experts say Okudah is the best defensive back in the draft. Detroit lands the player they would’ve gotten had they stayed at No. 3 overall, while gaining more draft capital. 

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert – QB – Oregon 

Strongest Arm in College Football || Oregon QB Justin Herbert ...

A lot of people do not like Justin Herbert, but he’s going to be a good player. His coaching staff at Oregon didn’t use him as well as they should have. Chargers fans will be very proud to have this kid on their team. LA’s brass continues to say they have faith in Tyrod Taylor– that’s just a smoke screen. The Chargers will not go into a five-billion dollar stadium with Taylor as their starter. They need to sell tickets. 

7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons – LB/S – Clemson

A very unique talent': How Clemson's Isaiah Simmons went from last ...

Luke Kuechly retired, Cam Newton is gone, and Greg Olsen is in Seattle. Carolina needs a lot, but most importantly, they need new faces of the franchise. Simmons can play all over the field, he’s a queen on a chess board. 

8. TRADE! Cardinals to Falcons: C.J. Henderson – CB – Florida

2020 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions and Top Prospects on ...

The latest rumors say the Falcons are trying to trade up and that may be for Derrick Brown, but I believe CJ Henderson will be the pick. The Jaguars need a CB too, so Thomas Dimitroff leap-frogs Jacksonville to grab their guy.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown – DT – Auburn

Dominating' Derrick Brown again named SEC Defensive Lineman of the ...

Jacksonville has a lot of holes to fill, but they stay put at No. 9 and draft a player who should’ve been selected in the top five. Brown is a mammoth up front and will be a great complement to Josh Allen. 

10. Cleveland Browns: Andrew Thomas – OT – Georgia 

NFL Draft Profile: Georgia T Andrew Thomas

The Browns have to address the offensive line. Baker Mayfield struggled in 2019 and that cannot happen in 2020. Cleveland, please do the right thing and give Baker some security on his blindside. 

11. New York Jets: Tristian Wirfs – OT – Iowa

NFL Draft Profile: Iowa T Tristan Wirfs

Jets fans want a wide receiver, but the experts say tackle over receiver every time. Joe Douglas comes from Philadelphia, who always take lineman in the first round. Protection for Sam Darnold should always come first. 

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Ceedee Lamb – WR – Oklahoma

NFL draft: Can anyone catch Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb?

CeeDee Lamb is the best receiver in the draft. For weeks, I was going back and fourth between Lamb and Jeudy, but Lamb is more talented, while Jeudy is more polished. 

13. San Francisco 49ers: Henry Ruggs III – WR – Alabama

Dynasty Prospect Scouting Report: Henry Ruggs | Draft Sharks

Kyle Shanahan saw what a speedy receiver can do for an offense in the Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs. Deebo Samuel and Ruggs on the field together is a lethal combo. Ruggs’ presence alone, stretches the field and will help out the already strong running game for the Niners. 

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mekhi Becton – OT – Louisville

How Far Could Mekhi Becton, Javon Kinlaw Fall in Draft After ...

Quarterbacks in Bruce Arians’ system get sacked a lot and Tom Brady is at an age where he needs to take the least amount of hits as he can. Becton is 6’7” and 364 lbs, he’s the epitome of a blue whale.

15. Denver Broncos: Justin Jefferson – WR – LSU

NFL Combine Thursday Recap: Justin Jefferson, Denzel Mims win the ...

Broncos decide to pass on Jerry Jeudy and select Justin Jefferson, who is a good slot receiver and be a solid weapon for Drew Lock. 

16. Arizona Cardinals (via Atlanta): Javon Kinlaw – DT – South Carolina

Brian Baldinger: Linebacker Ravens' Most Obvious Need, But What ...

Javon Kinlaw could very well be the best defensive lineman in this draft three years from now. Arizona gets tremendous value with this pick, while gaining more draft capital.

17. Dallas Cowboys: K’Lavon Chaisson – EDGE – LSU

Meet K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU's dynamic pass rusher

Jerry Jones will be drafting alone in house and nobody will be able to stop him. My guess is, he looks at the board, sees a pass rusher from LSU and pulls the trigger. In all seriousness, Chaisson is raw, but has a ton of potential and could be a very good player down the road.

18. Miami Dolphins: Austin Jackson – OT – USC

2020 NFL Draft Profile: USC Left Tackle Austin Jackson - Mile High ...

With Tua Tagovailoa as the face of the franchise, the Dolphins have to protect him. Jackson is the best tackle on the board.

19. TRADE! Raiders to Vikings: Jerry Jeudy – WR – Alabama

Jerry Jeudy Taken by Jaguars in B/R User 2020 NFL Mock Draft ...

To leap-frog the Eagles and the Jaguars, who need a wide receiver, Minnesota trades up for the second best WR in the draft and grab him pick 19– great value!

20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevon Diggs – CB – Alabama

Prospect for the Pack: Alabama CB Trevon Diggs

Jaguars traded both Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. It’s time to find a replacement and Diggs is the best corner back on the board.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Reagor – WR – TCU

NFL Draft Profile: Jalen Reagor - CBSSports.com

Usually by now, I have a good feel for what the Eagles are going to do, but this year is different, given the crisis we’re in and the limitations teams have with scouting prospects. However, Howie Roseman knows the Eagles need speed on the perimeter and Reagor has plenty of that and is outstanding on special teams. Reagor’s father played in the NFL and that’s always a plus. I can also see the Eagles trading back, gathering more picks. 

22. Las Vegas Raiders: A.J. Terrell – CB – Clemson

2020 NFL mock draft: AJ Terrell can help Chiefs get back to Super ...

Mike Mayock loves shopping at Clemson and A.J. Terrell also fills a need for the Raiders. Terrell will be paired up with his former teammate Trayvon Mullen in the secondary. 

23. New England Patriots: Zack Baun – EDGE – Wisconsin

Inside The Star Staff Predictions for the Dallas Cowboys First ...

Bill Belichick passes Jordan Love who is still on the board and goes with an underrated pass rusher. New England needs a ton of help on defensive line and Baun fits the scheme. 

24. New Orleans Saints – Jeff Gladney – CB – TCU 

Draft Hunt: Jeff Gladney Adding Corner Depth - Buffalo Fanatics ...

The Saints should take Jordan Love and have him sit behind Drew Brees, but they elect to address the secondary to get one last shot at the Super Bowl. 

25. Minnesota Vikings: Jaylon Johnson – CB – Utah

Jaylon Johnson - Football - University of Utah Athletics

The Vikings lost a couple of cornerbacks this offseason and Mike Zimmer will address that position very early in the draft. He may draft three cornerbacks given the stack of picks Minnesota has. Johnson is a physical player, Zimmer will love that. 

26. Miami Dolphins: Cesar Ruiz – Center – Michigan

Broncos Draft Board: Michigan's Cesar Ruiz could be immediate ...

Miami’s offensive line was atrocious last season. Pairing Ruiz with Austin Jackson to protect Tua is a great way to restart a franchise. 

27. TRADE! Seahawks to Colts: Jordan Love – QB – Utah State

Indianapolis Colts have 3rd-highest odds to draft QB Jordan Love

Seattle trades down every year, so this is no surprise. The Colts, who have multiple second-round picks, trade up to grab their franchise quarterback. 

28. Baltimore Ravens: Kenneth Murray – LB – Oklahoma

OU football: Kenneth Murray taking care of Sooner defense, just as ...

Kenneth Murray is one of my favorite players in this draft. Not only is he a very good player, but he’s an even better person off the field. His leadership may make a bigger impact than his actual skills. Murray is the perfect player for Baltimore.

29. Tennessee Titans: Josh Jones – OT – Houston

Could Josh Jones Be A Surprise Pick For the Browns?

Jack Conklin is in Cleveland now and that leaves a gaping hole on the right side of the offensive line. Josh Jones may even go earlier than pick 29. 

30. Green Bay Packers: Patrick Queen – LB – LSU

NFL draft profile: Ravens target Patrick Queen of LSU - Baltimore Sun

The Packers always draft defense in the first round. Patrick Queen is the best player on the board and fills a need, given the departure of Blake Martinez, who is now on the Giants.

31. TRADE! 49ers – Giants: Xavier McKinney – Safety – Alabama

Xavier McKinney - Football - University of Alabama Athletics

San Francisco needs more picks on day 2, so they trade down. The Giants need help all over the defense and Xavier McKinney is the best safety in the draft. 

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Ross Blacklock – DT – TCU

2020 Draft Watch: Five defensive linemen for the Texans

Chris Jones’ future in KC is in doubt and Andy Reid loves drafting lineman in the first round. Blacklock is a big, dancing bear and fills a need in Steve Spagnoulo’s defense. 

Featured

NFL First 32 Mock Draft 2.0 – Chargers trade up, Kinlaw falls, Vikings replace Diggs, trades, and more

We’re almost there, folks. The 2020 NFL Draft is this week and we have surely seen our fair share of mock drafts. We released a previous mock draft by analyst Gianfranco Illiano and you can check that out here:

While preparing this NFL Mock Draft, I tried to avoid a lot of trades because it usually takes away from one of my favorite purposes of a first round mock draft, identifying team needs and best players. I enjoy trades with multiple trades, however, because it’s pure chaos.

There’s just so many questions with the NFL Draft this year. Not even counting the fact this is the first virtual draft in NFL history, this draft is uncrackable. I believe I saw a report that a GM said most mock drafts were completely wrong. I’m fairly confident in mine.

1. Cincinnati Bengals – LSU QB Joe Burrow

The 2019 Heisman winner and National Champion brings his superstardom to Cincy to help save the Bengals.

2. Washington Redskins – Ohio State DE Chase Young

Young is a generational talent going to a Washington squad that needs an influx of talent.

3. Chargers (via Lions) – Alabama QB Tua Tagliova

Tua has had just about the most up and down college career ever for a highly touted QB prospect. He’ll be expected to replace long time starter Phillip Rivers.

4. Miami Dolphins (via Giants) – Oregon QB Justin Herbert

The gunslinger from Oregon gets to go save Miami’s offense.

5. Giants (via Dolphins) – Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs

Offensive line has been a problem for the Giants for years now. And with a second year Daniel Jones at QB, it’s a good time to start protecting the pocket.

6. Lions (via Chargers) – Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah

Okudah is the best CB in the draft going to the worst secondary in the NFL.

7. Panthers – Clemons LB Isaiah Simmons

Simmons is just a human highlight tape. He doesn’t even have a position because he plays everything. Panthers have to somehow try and replace the playmaking abilities of recently retired LB Luke Keuchly.

8. Cardinals – Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb

Kyler Murray gets his wish to pair up with former college teammate CeeDee Lamb. Coach Kliff will certainly be pleased.

9. Jaguars – Florida CB CJ Henderson

The Jaguars need help at a lot of positions in the Front office. But they also need help at cornerback. Henderson adds to the first round talent at CB in this draft.

10. Browns – Louisville OT Mekhi Becton

Becton has the best name in the draft. And he was also the best tackle in the ACC last season. Baker needs protection. This should work.

11. Jets – Georgia OT Andrew Thomas

Tackles continue to fall. And notice the young QB trend. Jets QB Sam Darnold got beat up last season by DL’s and desperately needs help up front.

12. Raiders – Alabama WR Henry Ruggs

Who even knows who’s the best WR on that Alabama roster last season? They’re all good. Ruggs has tremendous feet and great hands. Good pick for the Raiders to help Carr/Mariota. Also, Las Vegas desperately needs stars and Ruggs has tons of star potential.

13. 49ers – LSU EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson

Chaisson is one of my favorite players in the draft. He is quick but tough as nails. I’m excited to see how he can help the 49ers replace DeForest Buckner.

14. Buccaneers – Alabama OT Jedrick Wills

Brady gets some added protection.

15. Broncos – Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray

Murray is the best LB in the draft. The Broncos shouldn’t even blink with this pick.

16. Falcons – Auburn DT Derrick Brown

Brown is a unit. He also has NFL quickness. Should be fun to watch him develop in Atlanta.

17. Cowboys – Clemson CB A.J Terrell

Jerry Jones replaces Byron Jones with a far cheaper option.

18. Dolphins – Alabama EDGE Terrell Lewis

Lewis is a prototypical Alabama EDGE defender. I love this pick for the Dolphins who need upgrades on defense.

19. Eagles (via Raiders) – Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy

Jeudy provides speed and fine route running to an Eagles offense that desperately needs more of it.

20. Jaguars – Penn State EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos

Matos was really solid for Penn State all season. And with the Jag’s possibly trading Yannick Ngakoue, this is a no brainer.

21. Raiders (via Eagles) – Utah CB Jaylon Johnson

Johnson is such a solid CB. I know the Raiders will excited at his potential.

22. Vikings (via Bills) – LSU WR Justin Jefferson

Jefferson is a great receiver to put next to Adam Thielen. Give Kirk Cousins more weapons and see what happens.

23. Patriots – Wisconsin LB Zack Baun

Baun is a bull and the Patriots defense could be looking to add some youth.

24. Saints – Utah QB Jordan Love

Love might be an option to replace QB Drew Brees in a few years.

25. Vikings – TCU CB Jeff Gladney

Gladney will hopefully fill the shoes of CB Xavier Rhodes, who was released this offseason.

26. Dolphins (via Texans) – Baylor WR Denzel Mims

Mims has continued to shoot up draft boards since his impressive performance at the NFL Draft Combine. The Dolphins will look to add around Herbert.

27. Seahawks – South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw

I value Kinlaw much higher than this. But the Seahawks get a huge talent at DT if this happens.

28. Ravens – LSU LB Patrick Queen

Ravens added Derrick Wolfe and franchise tagged Matthew Judon, so I expect the Ravens to add to the defense even more and bring on Queen.

29. Titans – LSU CB Kristian Fulton

One of the many bright spots of LSU’s 2019 Championship team, Fulton gets added to an already elite Titans defense.

30. Packers – Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk

The loaded WR class continues to show in the first round.

31. 49ers – TCU DT Ross Blacklock

The 49ers will look to add to their already elite front seven.

32. Chiefs – Michigan C Cesar Ruiz

Ruiz is the best interior OL in the draft and Chiefs C Austin Reiter is 28 years old.

Featured

NFL Pre-Draft Notes, Analysis – Who is the best Quarterback, Biggest sleeper pick, top rated WR and more

It is officially the age of the digital draft. While the world moves to the internet, the NFL draft being held online is actually a bad thing. The pure chaos of the NFL Draft is the best part about it. Teams have no idea who they’ll end up with past round one, but even that’s never certain.

My favorite part of the draft has to be the last minute trades that alter franchises forever. For example, the Chiefs traded with the Buffalo Bills for the 10th pick in the 2017 draft, where Patrick Mahomes was then drafted and history writes itself.

The notes included in this article are notes I have taken while doing work for the 2020 draft. I kept the biggest ones and decided to write an article out of them.

Burrow Mania: It’s hard not to start draft notes off without Joe Burrow, who had arguably the single greatest season in college football history in 2019. What impresses me about Burrow is his pure competitive nature. He’s been quoted saying he simply doesn’t lose, and he’s not lying. He finished his college career with a 25-3 record, including a 15-0 season in 2019. I’m fully onboard with the Brady comparisons, I see it a lot. He has the arm to back it up. It looks like he’s going back to Ohio to play for the Cincinnati Bengals, and he seems to fit. They are desperate for a spark on offense after releasing QB Andy Dalton. Burrow is the best QB in this draft and we’ll see him be rewarded with that title going number one overall on Thursday night.

LSU-Clemson: Joe Burrow celebrated title with a cigar in the Superdome

SLEEPERS: I wrote a sleepers article about a month ago that was brutally shot down because it didn’t really contain actually sleeper picks. But, I am confident to say I have made some changes. I’m really impressed by Colby Parkinson, TE out of Stanford. He has great size for a TE and has big play ability. He reminds me of a bigger Zach Ertz, who also went to Stanford.

I think one of the big sleeper picks is Jonah Jackson, OG out of Ohio State. He’s a beast. I’ve seen him play at both Rutgers and OSU in person and he’s always the standout in the trenches. Jackson is powerful and packs a powerful punch. I think he’s a rookie starter for whoever he’s drafted to. It’s not often that you immediately see NFL potential when you watch college guard’s, but he looked ready for Sunday’s from the first game he played at Rutgers.

Lamb top rated WR: CeeDee Lamb is my WR1 for the draft. He’s just stood out to me the most out of the top 10 receivers. His frame allows him to play tall while his feet make him quick in and out of his routes. As a junior, he caught 62 passes for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns.

After declaring early, he certainly shot up many NFL GM’s boards. I don’t buy the criticisms of bad route running. He’ll learn to run near flawless routes in the NFL. I wouldn’t be surprised if a team trades up for Lamb on draft night.

OU football: CeeDee Lamb says legacy is 'still being written ...

I’m looking forward to the draft.

Featured

2020 NFL Mock Draft – First 32

*Editors Note: Part of my social distancing fun the last week has been watching draft film so it was fun to look through and study a new Mock Draft from TFC’s Gianfranco Illiano below. Read it and let us know what you think! The draft is upon us. – VC http://twitter.com/cenzoNF

  1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow – QB – LSU
Image result for burrow

The Bengals have a ton of holes on the roster but it’s time to restart the franchise with the kid who is from Ohio and who had the best single season performance college football has ever seen.

  1. Washington Redskins: Tua Tagovailoa – QB – Alabama

Ron Rivera runs the entire operation now. He will be making the final decision on draft day and I think he decides to roll with his own quarterback. He saw what a franchise QB can do for a team when he drafted Cam Newton in 2011. Haskins will be traded down the road. 

  1. Detroit Lions: Chase Young – DE – Ohio State

The Lions front office lands the best player in the draft at third overall. If Matt Patricia doesn’t screw up this cornerstone prospect, he’ll be even better than what Ndamukong Suh was for Detroit. 

  1. TRADE! Giants to Dolphins. NYG receives: 1st round pick (5th overall), 2nd round pick (39th overall), 5th round pick (148th overall). MIA receives: 1st round pick (4th overall).

Miami Dolphins: Jordan Love – QB – Utah State

Image result for jordan love

The Dolphins were hoping for Joe Burrow, they thought they would be able to snag Tua Tagovailoa, but they missed out on both! To avoid being leap-frogged by the Chargers or some other team, they trade up one spot to draft Jordan Love, a guy the Dolphins are very high on, according to the Miami Herald.

  1. New York Giants: Mekhi Becton – OT – Louisville

The Giants drafting Mekhi Becton will help their previous two first-round picks in Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. It’s a win-win for everyone.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert – QB – Oregon

The west coast kid stays in the west coast and he couldn’t be happier. Justin Herbert just looks like a Chargers quarterback. 

  1. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons – LB – Clemson
Image result for isaiah simmons

The loss of Luke Kuechly will be paramount to the Panthers because there aren’t too many guys that can replace that production. Simmons can play anywhere on defense and comes from a winning culture– something Matt Rhule is trying to build first and foremost.

*Editors Note: Simmons is easily my favorite player in the draft. His speed at his size is going to translate well to the NFL. This would be a great pick for Carolina, who’s defense was among the worst in the league last season. – VC

  1. Arizona Cardinals: Jeffrey Okudah – CB – Ohio State

The Cardinals land the best defensive back in the draft and they didn’t have to trade up. Who better to learn the techniques on how to be a great cornerback than Patrick Peterson?

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown – DT – Auburn
Image result for derrick brown

The Jaguars need to regain their defensive identity. Derrick Brown will serve as a good replacement for Calais Campbell. Some scouts believe Brown is the best prospect in the draft. 

*Editors Note: Love this pick for the Jags. They are desperate for talent up front on the DL. – VC

  1. Cleveland Browns: Andrew Thomas – OT – Georgia

Andrew Thomas was a three-year starter at left tackle for Georgia, a position the Browns desperately need. Newly signed OT Jack Conklin will take care of the right side. 

  1. New York Jets: CeeDee Lamb – WR – Oklahoma

The Jets need to give Sam Darnold some help, which they have in free agency by adding five offensive lineman. Joe Douglas’ next step is to find Darnold a new weapon. Lamb is fantastic after the catch and is elite at tracking the ball in the air. 

  1.  Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III – WR – Alabama

The Raiders need speed on the perimeter and Ruggs is the fastest receiver in the draft. He should be a nice fit in Jon Gruden’s offense.

  1. San Francisco 49ers: Jerry Jeudy – WR – Alabama
Image result for jerry jeudy

With the loss of Emmanuel Sanders, the 49ers need a WR to develop a rapport with Jimmy Garoppolo. Jeudy is an elite route runner and creates excellent separation.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jedrick Wills – OT – Alabama

Quarterbacks in Bruce Arians’ system get sacked a lot and Tom Brady is at an age where he needs to take the least amount of hits as he can. Maybe Tampa will install a similar system Brady had in New England, but Coach Arians will definitely want to sling the ball down the field, which means Brady will have to be in the pocket a little longer than he’s used to.

  1.  Denver Broncos: Tristian Wirfs – OT – Iowa

Looks like the Broncos have finally found their quarterback in Drew Lock. Now it’s time to protect him.

  1.  Atlanta Falcons: K’Lavon Chaisson – DE – LSU

It seems like every year the Falcons are in the market for a pass rusher. Even with the addition of Dante Fowler, Atlanta should draft a pass rusher in round one.

  1.  Dallas Cowboys: C.J. Henderson – CB – Florida

The Cowboys need to find a replacement for Byron Jones. Henderson should be a day 1 starter for Dallas.

  1.  Miami Dolphins: D’Andre Swift – RB – Georgia
Image result for d'andre swift

Yes the Dolphins signed Jordan Howard, but he is not a bell-cow running back. Swift will be a star in Miami. This move will pay major dividends down the road.

*Editors Note: Thought the Dolphins might go DB here, but I don’t totally hate this pick because I’m high on all Georgia RB’s. Sony Michel, Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb, and the list will continue. – VC

  1. TRADE! Raiders to Vikings: LV receives: 1st round pick (22nd overall), 3rd round pick (89th overall). MIN receives: 1st round pick (19th overall).

Minnesota Vikings: Kristian Fulton – CB – LSU

Mike Zimmer loves drafting CBs. Xavier Rhodes, Mackensie Alexander, and Trae Waynes are gone. Kristian Fulton will be a starter right away.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Xavier McKinney – Safety – Alabama

Jacksonville needs everything. Plain and simple.

  1. TRADE! Eagles to Seahawks: Eagles receive: 1st round pick (27th overall), 3rd round pick (101st overall). Seahawks receive: 1st round pick (21st overall).

    Seattle Seahawks: Yetur Gross-Matos – DE – Penn State

    Both teams love making trades and aren’t afraid to go up and down draft boards. Jadeveon Clowney hasn’t been signed yet, which means Seattle needs a pass rusher. Gross-Matos is an underrated player in this draft. He’s raw, but filled with a ton of potential.
  2. Las Vegas Raiders: Jalen Hurts – QB – Oklahoma
Image result for jalen hurts

Don’t be surprised to see Jalen Hurts go in the first round. He’s rising up draft boards, Raiders aren’t sold on Derek Carr, and Mike Mayock isn’t afraid to draft a player early.

*Editors Note: Not sure about this one with the Mariota signing. But having 3 starting QB’s on the roster sure sounds good to Gruden.

  1. New England Patriots: A.J. Epenesa – DE – Iowa

With the loss of Kyle Van Noy, the Patriots need a starting pass rusher. Epenesa will likely go earlier than this, but this is how the board fell. Another lucky break Bill Belichick.

  1. New Orleans Saints: Justin Jefferson – WR – LSU

Drew Brees needs all the help he can get. The Emmanuel Sanders signing was a great one, but drafting the kid who is from Louisiana and can play in the slot would be a nice complement to Michael Thomas.

  1.  Minnesota Vikings: Javon Kinlaw – DT – South Carolina
Image result for kinlaw

Minnesota’s defense was a huge disappointment last season. Chris Spielman will be psyched to see this physical freak still on the board.

*Editor’s note: This is a dream 1st round for the Vikings. Man, they loaded up on defensive talent. And still a ton of receivers to take in later rounds. – VC

  1.  Miami Dolphins: Josh Jones – Tackle – Houston

Dolphins have to protect their new franchise quarterback.

  1.  Philadelphia Eagles: K.J. Hamler – WR – Penn State
Image result for hamler

The Eagles need speed, speed, and more speed. K.J. Hamler is an excellent route runner. He is dynamic with the ball in his hands and he can make an entire defense miss. Carson Wentz needs a young weapon to rely on. 

*Editors Note: Would have preferred Mims, but I can’t ignore the wheels on Hamler. He was so impressive vs. Michigan last season. Have to figure he’ll produce. VC

  1.  Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen – LB – LSU

The Ravens are stacked on the defensive line. Now it’s time to find the next signal caller on the defense.

  1.  Tennessee Titans: Jeff Gladney – CB – TCU

The Titans secondary is missing two key pieces in Logan Ryan and Tramaine Brock. They don’t have much money to sign a corner, insert Jeff Gladney.

  1.  Green Bay Packers: Denzil Mims – WR – Baylor
Image result for DENZEL MIMS

Davante Adams can’t continue to carry the load for the Packers. Denzil Mims is a big receiver who is excellent on fade routes and we all know how much Aaron Rodgers loves running those types of plays.

*Editor’s Note: Mims and Adams?! HOW MUCH HELP DOES RODGERS NEED?! Great pick for the Pack – VC

  1.  San Francisco 49ers: Neville Gallimore – DL – Oklahoma

Shocking move by the 49ers to ship away DeForest Buckner, but it always comes down to money. Neville Gallimore is certainly a cheaper option than Buckner. 

  1.  Kansas City Chiefs: Cesar Ruiz – Center – Michigan

Andy Reid loves drafting lineman in the first round and the offensive line in Kansas City could use some youth. Ruiz could step in on day 1 and be the starting center.

Featured

2020 NFL Draft – 5 Sleeper Picks to Watch

According to Bleacher Report, “Sleeper” is a euphemism for lesser-known prospects who are usually selected in the later rounds but have the potential to contribute. I think a draft sleeper is simply someone that will do way more than he’s expected to.

Draft season is almost upon us as April creeps up. There is a lot of talk about stars, busts, and surprise picks. I made a quick list of sleeper picks that I think will be productive NFL players, or even great ones.

  1. J.K. Dobbins – Ohio State – RB

Dobbins should be a consensus first round draft pick at this point. In 2019 alone, he rushed for 2,000 yards and 21 TD. To put that into perspective, Dobbins only rushed for a combined 17 TD’s in his freshman and sophomore years, respectively. Growth is the best word to describe Dobbins at this point in his career, and there is no signs that he won’t continue to get better. He’s as effective in the air as he is on the ground and I think a team will greatly benefit if he falls to the second round. The only downside of Dobbins game is his pass pro. He needs to do a much better job of protecting his QB, especially if he’s a potential third down back.

2. Javon Kinlaw – South Carolina – DT

By now, I’m sure even the casual football fan has heard of Kinlaw’s impressive Senior Bowl week. When I went back and watched his film, mostly from the SEC portion of SC’s schedule, I noticed that it’s been like that all season. Kinlaw measures at 6’5 and 324 LBS, which is a prototypical NFL DT, but the added bonus of height is something NFL GM’s can get excited over. Kinlaw’s strengths are his pure strength. He can get to the QB without using anything but a bull rush. The one downside to to Kinlaw’s game that needs improvement is his motor. He needs to be able to bring it on every down if he wants to be a starting DT in the NFL. I don’t think this kid makes it past day 2, and whoever drafts him is getting a raw athlete that can turn into a great DT.  This young man was once homeless, and in April his life will change forever. It’s extremely hard to not root for him.

3. Justin Herbert – Oregon – QB

I will probably get flack for putting a sure-fire first round pick on my sleeper board, but I don’t think Herbert is getting enough attention. When you talk rockets for an arm, you can look no further than Oregons gunslinger. Herbert can make any throw on the football field, and can do so with ease. He’s never thrown over 8 INT’s in a season, he’s thrown for over 3,000 yards twice, and his completion percentage was tremendous in the 2019 season, at 66.8%. Despite being known for his arm strength, Herbert is also extremely elusive in the pocket. He can avoid pass rushers with ease. I don’t think Herbert gets drafted anywhere except in the top 15, but if he does fall, I think he has the opportunity to be a great steal for a team with QB needs.

4. Denzel Mims – Oregon – WR

It’s hard to not love this kid’s game. Despite being limited to a small selection of routes to run at Baylor, Mims tore it up running every route at the combine. He also ran a 4.40 40 yard dash at the 2020 NFL combine, and it was even more impressive when you see his measurables. He stands at 6’3, 207 pounds, which makes him sound like a possession receiver, but he can run a go route like any receiver in college football. I want to compare him to Julio Jones, as he can be a little bit of everything a receiver needs to be. Rumors are circulating that Kyle Shanahan, the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, LOVES Mims and wants him at 31. Let the bidding war begin. In a world of Jeffersons, Jeudy’s, and Lamb’s, it’s time we start to talk about Mims.

5. Josh Uche – Michigan – DE

When you talk about impressive Senior Bowls, its tough to talk about anyone other than Uche. Josh Uche went the whole season making play after play, and his work was rewarded as he got lots of attention at the Senior Bowl. He’s as quick as any DE in the draft, besides maybe Chase Young, and he has the NFL measurables at 6’1, 245. Uche represents the very definition of sleeper, and I’m excited as hell to see him perform in the NFL. I expect him to be taken no later than Day 2 at the draft, as his tape and hype is sure to be noticed.

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Super Bowl LIV Pick, Analysis

Super Bowl Sunday has arrived. The storyline’s are few, but the drama is certainly high. The 49ers and Chiefs get ready to kick off on Sunday night in Miami.

Pick: Chiefs ML

I’ve had high praises for the 49ers all season long. Their defense is lethal and constantly makes big plays, especially the front 7. But the Chiefs have just been so damn good offensively in the playoffs. Simply put, this Chiefs team is doing things offensively that will be talked about for years.

I don’t think the Chiefs defense getting enough love. Since their November 10th loss to the Titans, the defense hasn’t been talked about much at all, which is probably a good thing considering the only time we ever talked about Kansas City’s defense was when they were getting thrashed.

A few things to watch:

This is really interesting. I talked a little bit about the pre snap motion that San Francisco uses in my post last week. PSM can confuse defenses and offer something they possibly haven’t seen on film. Expect the 49ers to use a ton of PSM to confuse Kansas City on Sunday night.

The 49ers have got to run the ball well on first and second down. If they want to be run-oriented, it has to work more than 50% of the time if they want to win the Super Bowl. We haven’t seen Jimmy Garrappolo have to throw the ball while the 49ers are down and I’m interested to see what happens if the Chiefs get ahead early.

My post-game post will have much more analytical breakdowns and game film.

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Grading Every NFL Head Coaching Hire

WASHINGTON Redskins and Ron Rivera

Grade: A

This is a great hire for Washington. I didn’t think the best candidate would go to the worst destination. I was shocked Ron Rivera chose the ‘Skins over other teams such as the Giants or Browns. Maybe the money was too good to pass up and the opportunity to pair Chase Young with Montez Sweat is a dream come true for Rivera. The fans of Washington should be excited. Major props to Daniel Snyder in grabbing the best man for the job. 

Speaking of the owner, he gave plenty of power to Coach Rivera in his “coach-centric” approach and that’s a good decision. Jack Del Rio is a good choice for defensive coordinator, however, Scott Turner as the offensive coordinator may not resolve the ‘Skins’ issues on offense. A new era is coming to Washington and however it goes, Rivera will be very responsible of the outcome, as long as Snyder keeps his nose out of football operations, which I think he finally will.

The biggest question moving forward: is Coach Rivera sold on Dwayne Haskins? I’m not. Rivera will choose his franchise quarterback in year two of his tenure. 

Ultimate outcome: Rivera stays in Washington for at least seven years, changes the culture, wins two division titles, three playoff appearances.

Dallas Cowboys and Mike McCarthy

Grade: D+

On paper, this seems like a great fit for both sides. However, this marriage just feels forced and that is never a good idea.

The press conference was extremely awkward at times, especially hearing Stephen Jones laugh like a hyena. The Cowboys needed someone who wasn’t going to be a “yes man” to Jerry Jones and that’s what Mike McCarthy is, a Jason Garrett clone without the clapping. McCarthy may be better at Xs and Os than Garrett, but only by a little bit. His success in Green Bay was due to having a great quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, who is one of the greatest players of all time.

McCarthy and the Packers missed the playoffs in his last two seasons in Green Bay with a 11-16-1 record. That’s inexcusable with a legend under center. Now all of a sudden McCarthy is going to be a better coach with Dak Prescott as his quarterback? No way. Even with the talent Dallas has on both sides of the ball, the cap will not allow them to keep them together. To be fair, as long as Jerry Jones is leading the football operations, the Cowboys will never win a Super Bowl.

Ultimate outcome: McCarthy resigns after four years on the job. One division title, two playoff appearances, zero playoff wins.

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Carolina Panthers and Matt Rhule

Grade: B

I thought it was a bad decision by Carolina to fire Ron Rivera. His team was playing pretty well with a bad quarterback and it seemed like the team never quit on its coach. However, the Panthers owner wanted to bring in his own guys, which is understandable.

The money Panthers owner David Tepper had to pay to bring Matt Rhule to Carolina is rumored to be close to 80 million dollars when adding together the contract, the incentives, and the buyout. That’s an insane amount of money to invest in a college coach who has one year of experience in the NFL. I applaud Mr. Tepper for taking a chance on a coach who is known for building teams from the ground up. That’s what Matt Rhule did with Temple and Baylor—he knows how to build a football team. 

Nowadays, owners are often impatient of its football brass to build a winning team. It’s going to take a few years to get the Panthers where they want to be, and it starts with finding a new franchise quarterback. Coach Rhule has to move on from Cam Newton and find his own signal caller. Carolina would be foolish to try to revitalize Newton’s career. Bringing in Joe Brady to lead the offense should be interesting, maybe the Panthers will trade up for Joe Burrow? Probably not.

Ultimate outcome: Matt Rhule stays in Carolina for 10+ years, drafts Trevor Lawrence in 2021, wins five division titles, three playoff wins.

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New York Giants and Joe Judge

Grade: C+

The Giants are taking a huge risk in hiring Joe Judge, a guy who has never been a head coach at any level of football. For some reason, this seems like a good hire for the Giants. But then again, Dave Gettleman is still at the helm and controlling the personnel department. As long as Gettleman is in New York, the Giants have no hope. However, Giants fans should be excited about Judge and maybe he can outlast Gettleman. And for goodness sake, they should not hire Jason Garrett as offensive coordinator. Judge should surround himself with coaches who have head coaching experience, but Garrett shouldn’t be the guy.

How about Wade Phillips to lead the defense and allow to continue the role he had when Sean McVay hired him in Los Angeles?  Judge is a no-nonsense type of coach and that’s what the Giants need—”a nice kick in the ass.” The team is 51-77 with one playoff appearance since 2012. Coach Judge comes from the Patriots, a winning organization, and his side of the ball (special teams) has been one of the best in the past eight years. Special teams coaches have to be motivational and after listening to Judge speak at his introductory press conference, he certainly can do that. He’s got the Philadelphia grit, he’s an old school coach, and he’s won multiple championships on the college and pro level as an assistant. This may turn out to be a good hire, it all depends on the development of Daniel Jones. 

Ultimate outcome: Gettleman gets fired after the 2020 season, Judge coaches the Giants for at least four seasons with two playoff appearances. 

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Cleveland Browns and Kevin Stefanski

Grade: B-

Kevin Stefanski doesn’t strike me as a coach, his demeanor and persona is more so of a general manager. However, listening to Coach Stefanski speak, it’s obvious he’s very smart and knowledgeable about the game. The Browns needed a coach who can change the culture, and one who can gain the respect of the players. Stefanski can do both. He was an offensive coordinator for 20 games, which is a concern, but if he’s not calling the plays in Cleveland, it won’t matter how many games he’s been the play caller. In fact, Stefanski said at his press conference he hasn’t decided whether or not he’s going to call the plays, but my guess is he will. It’s going to be his system the Browns will be implementing, Stefanski would be bold to have someone else call the plays. The best part about Stefanski is the amount of head coaches he’s worked for in his 14 years in Minnesota. He’s been in a lot of systems, he’s seen a lot of different offenses, he has experience with different coaching styles, he rose up the ranks on the coaching ladder– he’s a grinder. 

Since officially taking over the Browns seven games into the 2012 season, Haslam has had six head coaches and a 21-75-1 record as team owner. Kevin Stefanski will be the team’s seventh head coach and the last one for a while. The city of Cleveland probably doesn’t have much confidence in its newest coach, but they should be excited. Stefanski will bring stability, discipline, and a scheme that Baker Mayfield will thrive in. 

Nick Chubb should be the happiest player of the bunch, he’s going to be the bellcow and carry the load for this offense. Under Stefanski’s leadership, the Vikings offense in 2019 ranked 4th in the league in rushing attempts, 6th in rushing yards, and 6th in rushing touchdowns. Stefanski loves to run the ball, which will take a lot of pressure off Mayfield. 

The biggest issue moving forward is the offensive line for the Browns. In 2019, the Browns could not protect Baker Mayfield, contributing to his struggles throughout the season. For Coach Stefanski’s scheme to thrive, the Browns front office, who ever gets the GM job, has to sure up the offensive line.

Ultimate outcome: Kevin Stafanski stays in Cleveland for at least five seasons, win two division titles, three total playoff appearances.

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All-22: 49ers rushing game dominates late vs. Vikings. Scheme, Analysis, Next-Gen Stats

The 49ers dominated the Vikings for most of the game, but especially in the 4th quarter in last weekend’s divisional round matchup.

The offense leaned on Tevin Coleman to run the ball down the middle of the Vikings defense and milk the clock. George Kittle played a special role in particular as his zone/down blocking is crucial to what the 49ers do on the ground.

The plays that I broke down here are 8 straight run plays from the San Francisco 49ers that iced the game after the 49ers went up 24-10.

The interception from Kirk Cousins to Richard Sherman that set the drive up. Sherman read the throw beautifully and jumped the route.
The 49ers start the drive with a simple zone run to the right. The play does not get much, but nonetheless a good play to establish the mindset for the drive.
Coleman finds a crease and picks up 6 yards.
The 49ers run the same play but to the other side of the field. First down.
Mostert finds a crease up the middle and picks up a few. Impressive job by the left side of the 49ers offensive line here. If not for Eric Wilson (50) this play could have broken big.
Look at this hole that the 49ers offensive line creates. Not much of a gain but a sign of domination nonetheless.
Anthony Harris (41) is forced to move to the middle of the field after George Kittle (85) makes a pre-snap move. This allows the 49ers to run a power run to the right and pick up a few.
The 49ers again go with the power run scheme but nothing to show for it.
Coleman is one of the best running backs in the league that can find space with a lot of nothing in front of him. It allows the 49ers to run out of all different kinds of formations, including shotgun. The two RB shotgun set is a favorite of Kyle Shanahan.
The 49ers go with the same run play back to back (again) and run for a TD to cap an 8 play drive. Tevin Coleman is a rock in the 49ers zone-run scheme.

I’m extremely intrigued to see how the 49ers and Tevin Coleman can rush the ball against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship.

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All-22: Titans Defense shut down Lamar Jackson – Analysis, Next-Gen, and More

The Tennessee Titans shocked the world last weekend when they went to Baltimore and dominated the Ravens, 28-12.

The talk all season was about Lamar Jackson. He’s the MVP of the league, he’s the first QB ever with 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 yards rushing, and he’s changing the game alongside Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

On Saturday night, this was not the case. The Titans forced Jackson to run laterally, forcing him to not be able to use his deadly north and south speed. And that’s why the Titans won. They stopped Jackson, and the Ravens did not know how to respond.

Jackson finished with a 62.7 PFF grade on Saturday night. He threw for 2 INT’s on 59 attempts(!). All regular season, Jackson averaged a 91.1 grading from Pro Football Focus.

Lets take a look at the first drive that ended in a Lamar Jackson interception.

Mark Ingram struggles to find room
Gus Edwards gets shut down
The Ravens were forced to throw the ball down the field due to the Titans steady 4-3 rush defense. A safety in the box allows the Titans to slow Lamar down.

The Ravens WR’s and TE’s struggled with drops all night. On this play, the intended target Mark Andrews, who happens to be Lamar’s favorite target, dropped a catchable ball and it turned into a first quarter interception.

More action:

Lamar Jackson rolls out and fires a ball into a tight window. Incomplete. The Titans were still able to get pressure even when rushing 4.
Lamar Jackson gets flushed out quickly and has to try and get back to the line of scrimmage. Number 54 Rashaan Evans was in charge of containing Jackson all night.
The Titans bring a delayed blitz that forces Jackson to rush a crucial 3rd down throw. The Titans did not blitz all game but did it on big downs. It was an important reason on why they stopped the run.
Jackson keeps it on the read option and gets nowhere. The Titans clearly wanted to keep Jackson behind the line of scrimmage all game long.

These are just a few examples of the domination the Titans displayed on Saturday night. They will face the Chiefs in Kansas City for the AFC Championship.

If you haven’t yet, take a look at my analysis of the coaching changes around the NFL –

Read: https://thefinalcount.blog/2020/01/09/nfl-coaching-carousel-update-analysis/

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CFB National Championship Top Prospects, Things to Watch, Picks

The College Football Playoff had its inaugural year in 2015. Since then, we have seen upsets, big wins, and just good old football.

Tonight when Clemson takes on LSU for the National Championship, there will be no shortage of fireworks.

Prospects to Watch

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence has been on a roll down the stretch, throwing for 561 yards and 6 TD’s in his last 2 games. Although he struggled in the Ohio State game, particularly with his poor completion percentage (54.5%), he was able to make big plays with his legs and made the big throws when he needed to. Lawrence is set up to be a prime prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. He’s projected as a first round pick, and many people think he will be the first overall selection. It will be interesting to see how LSU’s defense will contain Lawrence.

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is a top prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. He display’s incredible arm strength and he can get yards on the ground.

Speaking of QB’s, we should also talk about LSU QB Joe Burrow. The 2020 Heisman winner has been the best player in college football all season. Burrow has thrown for 50 TD’s and 5,000 yards and his QB efficiency rating (204.6) is the highest total for any quarterback since the stat was first used in 1956.

Burrow is the clear and obvious first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, at least for me. He displays the size and pocket presence of a young Tom Brady. It will be exciting to see Burrow and Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa battle it out in the NFL for years to come.

Throwing into tight windows is what every NFL QB needs to do. Joe Burrow has done it on 5.02% of his throws this season, which is the highest in the FBS.

LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been ELECTRIC this season. He has rushed for 1,304 yards and 16 TD’s. Edwards-Helaire is growing on 2020 NFL Draft Analysts, including me. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has said the physical back made a strong case for “being taken no later than Day 2.” Personally I value Edwards-Helaire the same. He’s a back that can do everything on the offensive side of the ball.

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Week 9 vs. Auburn, Edwards-Helaire was crucial to LSU’s victory. He has been a rock for LSU all season and in the college football playoff. (via: PFF)
Although Joe Burrow and LSU’s WR’s have been the stars for LSU, players like Edwards-Helaire have been playmakers all season.

Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons has been a beast this season. Physically, he looks like an LB but his size doesn’t hold him back from being as athletic as a safety. He can run with any receiver, and can pass rush like a defensive end.

With an overall PFF grade of 88.9 in 2018 and the Butkus Trophy award, Simmons could have declared for the 2019 NFL Draft. Instead, he returned to school and somehow GOT BETTER. Simmons had 61 solo tackles and 6 sacks this season. I have him as an early first round pick because of his versatility. This is a player who can play LB, Safety, and rush as a Defensive End. NFL scouts and GM’s will have all eyes on him as the combine approaches.

Isaiah Simmonds is soaring up draft boards because of plays like this.

LSU DE K’Lavon Chaisson is another defender to keep an eye on. He can play in a 3-4 or a 4-3 alignment. Whenever Trevor Lawrence drops back tonight, expect Chaisson to be in his vicinity.

Chaisson wreaked havoc against the Longhorns this season. Here is every snap that he played in that game.

Clemson RB Travis Etienne is an elusive back that I have studied closely all season. He’s projected as a second round pick, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team pick him in the first round around picks 28-32 as a quick contributor on a good offense.

Etienne had the game of his life against Georgia Tech this season, rushing for 205 yards and 3 touchdowns. Here are the full highlights.

Keys to the Game

As for the game itself, LSU needs to slow Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence down early. Ohio State did a nice job of pressuring Lawrence in the first half last week. I expect to see that dialed up again as LSU’s pass defense has struggled all season.

Trevor Lawrence exploded against Virginia in the ACC Championship game.

Clemson needs to switch up defenses and confuse Burrow. LSU QB Joe Burrow succeeds against both man and zone defense, with a 77.6 completion percentage against man defense, and 72.0% against zone defense, respectively. Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons looks to be an important player tonight, as he needs to get pressure on Burrow and defend the pass, specifically LSU WR Justin Jefferson.

Pick

I am going to go with LSU -5.

I have been so impressed with Clemson this season, they continue to grow as a program. People will disrespect them because of their easy schedule, and I think it’s an overrated argument. I am sure that it played a factor into their season, but they were just running through the ACC like a tornado. Dominating teams has been the new normal at Clemson thanks to Clemson HC Dabo Swinney.

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Dabo Swinney and Clemson agreed to a 10 year, $93 million dollar contract in 2019 that keeps him at Clemson through 2028.

But, LSU QB Joe Burrow is just too good. He threw for 7 TD’s in the first half last week. LSU is 9-5 ATS in 2019 (64.3%, +7.7). While Clemson is 11-3 ATS, that is mostly attributed to their blowout wins all season. I will always value SEC scheduling when predicting matchups in college football.

The Final Count is 37-29 (56.1%) on college football this season.

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NFL – The Detroit Lions should clean house and sell the team

“Lions owner Martha Ford told reporters on Tuesday that Patricia and General Manager Bob Quinn will both return to the team for the 2020 season. It will be Patricia’s third year as head coach and Quinn’s fifth season in Detroit. Both men are under contract through 2022.” (Pro Football Talk)

The Detroit Lions have had 14 losing seasons in the last 20 years.

This season will be the second losing season in a row for the Lions and the 6th losing season since 2009.

The Detroit Lions went 0-16 in 2008. They drafted Matthew Stafford out of Georgia with the first overall pick in 2009, who is top 20 in NFL History in both Touchdowns and Passing Yards.

Let’s talk about the basics: this team has not been good this season. They are 3-10 and have looked lost since Matt Stafford went down.

The Lions defense has been bad the entire season.

They have a Defensive DVOA of 9.5%, which is 26th in the league. DVOA is Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, which in simple terms means how the defense plays in the biggest moments and most important plays. For more: Football Outsiders.

The Lions defense has allowed 374 points this season.

The Lions WEI Defense is 14.2%. Weighted Defense is adjusted so that earlier games in the season become gradually less important. This shows that the Lions have improved, but not at a significant rate.

The Lions have lost games where they have scored 30 points TWICE this season against the Chiefs and another game in October against the Vikings. In those games, Stafford had 655 yards and 7 TD’s combined.

The Lions defense has allowed 374 points this season. To put that in perspective, the Lions offense has only scored 304 points.

It’s also worth noting that Matt Patricia, the Lions head coach since 2018, was brought in to help the defense. And the Lions GM, Bob Quinn, was brought in to establish “The Patriot Way.” Well, the only “way” the lions have is losing. And it’s becoming more and more prevalent.

Mathew Stafford has been wasted

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Matthew Stafford will go down as one of the best passers in NFL history. The former Georgia bulldog has been in the league since 2009, which makes this his 10th season with the Lions since being drafted first overall in the NFL Draft.

Stafford is a tough SOB. He is missing his first games since 2011 this season, having recently been placed on IR (Back).

He is in the top 20 in passing yards, 41,025, and passing TD’s, 256. He is 22nd in passer rating. If you wanna keep going, Stafford is also top 20 in passes completed with 3,559, and he should pass Joe Flacco, 3,670, by next season to move up to 17th in that category.

Simply put: Matt Stafford has been really good and the Lions haven’t put together a good enough team in 10 years to give him some help.

Stafford hasn’t had below an 80 QB rating since his 4th season in 2012. The Lions playoffs wins from 2013-2019? 0.

Sell the Team

Many fans have asked the Lions to sell the franchise, as they do not see a direction where the Lions will win anytime soon. And if the past can predict the future, they may be right.

Lions fans displayed a “Sell The Team” banner during the 4th quarter of the Lions 38-17 loss to the Buccaneers, the 7th straight loss for the team.

The Ford’s bought the Lions in 1963 and have had winning seasons in just 15 of those years. 15 winning seasons since 1963 is abysmal. And guess who still owns the team? The mediocrity coming out of Detroit has to be put on the Ford’s and their incompetence running a franchise.

The Ford’s were also in charge of hiring Matt Millen, who went 31-84 as Lions GM, and is in charge of assembling the worst team to every play a season of football in 2008, when the Lions went 0-16. Besides Calvin Johnson, the Lions first round picks from 2001-2008 had just one pro bowl appearance. Just one.

Bob Quinn will be back with the Lions in 2019, after missing the playoffs in 3 consecutive seasons.

Mediocrity has been the face of the Detroit Lions since 1963. Something needs to change if they ever want to get back to being a winning franchise. The Ford’s should do the right thing and sell the team.

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Gambling: How DVOA% can help predict matchups in the NFL

Analytics have been becoming more and more popular when it comes to gambling on and analyzing football games. DVOA% is a stat that has caught my eye in the recent history. I think its important to test out theories before I try them, so I decided to research how DVOA% can predict who will cover the spread. This is my work:

For those who don’t know, let me explain to you what DVOA% is.

From Football Outsiders: DVOA is a method of evaluating teams, units, or players. It takes every single play during the NFL season and compares each one to a league-average baseline based on situation. DVOA measures not just yardage, but yardage towards a first down: Five yards on third-and-4 are worth more than five yards on first-and-10 and much more than five yards on third-and-12. Red zone plays are worth more than other plays. Performance is also adjusted for the quality of the opponent. DVOA is a percentage, so a team with a DVOA of 10.0% is 10 percent better than the average team, and a quarterback with a DVOA of -20.0% is 20 percent worse than the average quarterback. Because DVOA measures scoring, defenses are better when they are negative.

DVOA, simply put, measures how teams do on certain parts of the field during certain situations. It’s a measuring device for success. And when I started studying this stat, I asked myself, can this be a main source when picking spreads and overs/unders? So, I decided to test it out.

**DVOA is 1/2 offense, 3/8 defense, and 1/8 special teams, so offense outweighs defense in the formula.

Here is a look at the best DVOA %’s in the league:

Well, if DVOA% can study one thing, it’s certainly wins. Almost every single team in the top 10 has a playoff spot or is fighting for one (The LA Rams are the only team not in a playoff spot). This stat also shows how good Kansas City has been, it just hasn’t amounted to wins every week. So, although not perfect, DVOA% seems like a good stat to use for gambling. Lets take a look at the Week 14, 2019 season board to actually test it out.

I made a graph comparing DVOA% with two teams and then bet the team with the highest DVOA% or the non-favorite if it was close in percentage.

I picked a handful of games that I bet on last weekend (Week 14) using DVOA%. If you notice, every game is covered by the team with the DVOA% to back it up. The Broncos should have covered +8 because they are so close to the Texans in DVOA%.

It gets confusing, with all the numbers I have been seeing. I made a tool to help clear confusion when trying to pick which team to gamble on.

SCENARIOS – BETTING NFL MATCHUPS USING DVOA% TIPS

  • Teams with negative DVOA% – bet against
  • Both teams have negative DVOA% – bet the one thats higher, if it’s too close – bet the non-favorite with the points.
  • Higher DVOA% – ALWAYS bet team with higher DVOA% if it’s 5% better or more. Under that – calculate.Bet favorite with spread if not sure.
  • DVOA% within 5% – consider betting non-favorite plus the points. If not sure, take favorite minus the points.
  • Two top 10 teams with similar % – consider using other stats, like team efficiency and player statistics to help your decision. Or go with gut.

UPDATE:

Week 15, 2019 Matchup – Titans –3 (8-5) vs. Texans (8-5)

I will use this as an example, as it is a crucial game for two teams that have the same record in the same division. I am going to use DVOA% to predict who will win the matchup.

Let’s check out where Tennessee and Houston place on the DVOA% rankings for Week 14.

Here’s a simple graph to show where each teams ranks. As you can see, Titans (3.5% DVOA) have a .5% better DVOA% than the Texans (-4.0% DVOA). The 2% difference in Offensive DVOA% is telling. The Titans are 6.7% while the Texans are 4.1%.

The Titans offensive success has to be credited to Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill. As you can see above, the Titans have had success when their two stars have success. Tannehill has been a mirage of what we saw in Miami in 2018. He is finally looking like the QB that was projected to be a long-time starter. The Titans being top 10 in offensive DVOA at 6.7% has a lot to do with how good Tannehill has been this season.

The Texans high powered offense with Deshaun Watson and Deandre Hopkins has been extremely inconsistent this season. Although they rank 11th in points per game (24.4 PPG), I would tend to rely on Ryan Tannehill and the Titans offense in this game. The Titans have been hot as of late, scoring 37.5 PPG over their last 4 games.

Using my DVOA% research, I predict the Titans will cover at -3.

I will update with results.

Outside the Box – NFL Pick EM podcast up every Friday. I use DVOA% among other tools to predict games. I don’t go in depth into it in this podcast but will in the future.

SUBSCRIBE:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/outside-the-box-with-gio-vinnie-and-jim/id1484026391?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

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Two Path’s, One Journey: The Lamar Jackson-Teddy Bridgewater story

Asked by Courier Journal for his thoughts on Lamar Jackson, the Heisman Trophy-winning Louisville quarterback who was picked 32nd in the NFL draft on Thursday night, Bridgewater just said, “Oh, man.” (Courier Journal)

If you’ve watched football in 2019, you’ve seen the rise of former Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, and the daunting comeback of a former Heisman finalist, Teddy Bridgewater. Separated by 5 years, the paths these two have taken are certainly unparalleled but the journey is the same.

Let’s start at the beginning to get a sense of how we ended up here. Lamar Jackson and Teddy Bridgewater are both from South Florida. Jackson attended Boynton Beach High School in Boynton Beach, Florida, while Bridgewater attended Miami Northwestern High School. Both schools are separated by just a one hour drive.

Both players attended Louisville, Bridgewater coached by Charlie Strong and Jackson coached by Petrino. Teddy always had success in college, never having a losing season when he started, including a 12-1 season in 2013 where Louisville defeated Miami (FL) in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Teddy was an absolute stud in college. He was a field general and never looked fazed by the moment. Seeing Louisville perform the way they were was often strange, after seeing Rutgers dominate the Big East for years. Teddy finished his college career with 9,817 yards and 72 TD’s in just 3 years. After he left Louisville, he was drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings.

Lamar Jackson had the opposite of winning ways in his time at Louisville, but that didn’t stop him from being a force to be reckon with. He won the Heisman, Maxwell, and Walter Camp Award (2016), as well as the AP and Sporting News player of the year in the same year. To say he was a stud in college was an understatement. He finished his college career with 9,043 yard’s and 69 TD’s. So with all the playmaking and insane TD throws, why was he so undervalued in the draft? He was passed by 31 different teams in the 2018 NFL draft before being drafted 32nd overall by the Baltimore Ravens. This is where the story gets interesting.

Image result for lamar jackson louisville 2013

Let’s rewind 2 years – Teddy Bridgwater suffered a possible career ending injury in a practice session with the Vikings in August of 2016. His time with the Vikings would be over, and his career as an NFL quarterback would be in jeopardy. The scenes that day were like no other. No videos, no pictures, just disgusted players that have never seen anything like it in their life. He just went down, without being touched, and now his career was hanging in the balance. Later that week, Teddy Bridgewater released a statement that resonated with NFL fans.

I want to thank the Wilf Family and the entire Vikings organization, all of my teammates, friends, Eric Sugarman and the amazing Vikings athletic training staff and the fans who have sent me messages and wished me well. Your thoughts and prayers mean a lot to me and have helped me in this difficult time. There are great players and great leaders in our locker room who are going to fight to the end to reach the goals we set for 2016. I will be there mentally, physically and in spirit to support them accomplish those goals.

In order to have a testimony, you have to have a test. I come from amazing DNA, I watched my mom fight and win against breast cancer. We will, as a team, attack my rehab with the same vigor and energy. My faith is strong, my faith is unwavering and my vision is clear. My purpose will not be denied.” (USA Today)

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What incredible strength displayed by a guy who possibly just lost it all. When I saw this, I knew that he would be back, and he wouldn’t let an injury determine his career.

Now back to present time, just two years later, a kid from the same college he went to would explode onto the scene.

Lamar Jackson had a surprising rookie year. After being undervalued in the NFL draft, with “expert analysts,” including Bill Polian, telling Jackson he should play WR, which turns out to be horribly wrong. Jackson finished his 2018 Rookie year with a bang, after replacing Joe Flacco, throwing for 1201 yards and 6 TD’s in just 7 games. It wasn’t Lamar’s throwing ability that sold him to executives around the league, it was his leadership on the field as a rookie, similar to what we saw with Bridgwater during his time with the Vikings. It was so impressive to watch him control the huddle as a rookie QB, and I only wanted to see him start a full season.

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Bridgewater, now a backup QB with the Saints, replacing an injured Drew Brees, was absolutely stellar. He wasn’t flashy and sometimes even looked rusty, but he was displaying the qualities that made him so highly valued as a member of the Vikings before he was injured. He led the team to a 6-1 record in his time as the Saints starter from week 2-8 and is now valued as someone who will get paid next offseason.

I am convinced the Football God’s were looking down on Teddy Bridgewater this season. While injuries are never wanted, I think the time that Teddy was given as a QB during Brees’ rehab showed the world why he was once a first round pick. The fortitude and drive needed to come back from ACL tears is like no other, and Teddy is an example to never give up on players until they simply can not play anymore.

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2019 Lamar Jackson might just be my favorite player ever. Jackson and the Ravens offense have simply beat teams up, including the Patriots, Texans, and Seahawks. To put his amazing start to the 2019 season in simple terms, he is the favorite for MVP of the league through week 11, he isn’t even top 20 in the NFL in passing yards, and he is only 8th in passing TD’s with 19. What makes Lamar Jackson special can’t be measured by statistics. His athleticism and pure will to be great sets him apart most QB’s in the NFL this season. I would even go as far as saying he has been the best quarterback in the NFL this season.

Another impressive thing about his season is how the Ravens front office has supported him and built the offense around him. Where Lamar goes, this offense goes. The whole scheme, in my opinion, is formulated to help with what Lamar does best, throwing on the run, escaping the pocket, and finding ways to pick up yards with his feet. It’s not often the best pure runner in the league is also the best QB in the league. Thats the Lamar Jackson difference.

It’s safe to say, 2019 won’t be the last time we hear about both of these guys, Teddy will be determined to find his way onto a team as a starting QB next season, and Lamar will only continue to grow. The paths these players have taken is incredible. From being a first round pick with all the glory, to suffering a season ending injury, Teddy has shown his grace under fire, and his will to succeed. After being skipped by 31 NFL teams, Lamar Jackson is now proving the GM’s of those teams wrong and performing like the man that won the Heisman in 2016. The journey’s NFL QB’s take is always unprecedented, with a defining moment in almost every Hall of Fame or un-drafted free agent QB’s career. It is safe to say we might have seen both Teddy’s and Lamar’s defining moments, albeit with two different paths to greatness. I can not wait to see how both of these players continue to succeed in the National Football League.

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2021 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

The NFL Draft is almost here! Every year I find myself alone on an island when I say the NFL Draft is the most exciting event of the year. Yes, that goes for the Super Bowl, Opening Day for any sport, The Oscars, or whatever you think is a big event. The NFL Draft is the single greatest live-tv drama to ever exist.

FYI: This mock draft is what I think teams will do and NOT what I would do if I were GM.

That’s enough dilly-dally– let’s get on with this mock draft.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence – QB – Clemson

A no-brainer. Trevor Lawrence is the cleanest prospect in the draft and possibly the sole reason why Urban Meyer came out of retirement to take on the NFL.

2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson – QB – BYU

This pick was made the second the Jets traded away Sam Darnold. Wilson has outstanding arm talent and is hopefully the saving grace for the Jets and its fans.

3. San Francisco 49ers: Justin Fields – QB – Ohio State

I refuse to believe the Niners gave up all of that draft capital for Mac Jones, who looks like the worst QB among the five projected to go in first-round. Fields is a terrific prospect who has leadership traits teams look for in franchise quarterbacks. If it’s not Justin Fields, San Fransisco takes Trey Lance. Again, there’s no way it’s Mac Jones and if it is, it will turn into a total disaster.

4. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts – TE – Florida

The Falcons are looking to trade down and that would be a mistake for the first year GM Terry Fontenot. Atlanta has (foolishly) committed to Matt Ryan for the next two years. Pairing Pitts with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley may be enough to take one last shot in making the playoffs with the current core and it gives the future QB a good surrounding cast.

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase – WR – LSU

Bengals fans will be clamoring for Penei Sewell to protect Joe Burrow’s blindside, but Cincinnati signed Riley Reiff during the offseason to pair with Jonah Williams. Chase is the best player on the board and already has chemistry with Burrow. Easy decision.

6. Miami Dolphins: DeVonta Smith – WR – Alabama

Miami has to maximize Tua’s potential and why not do that with the reigning Heisman trophy winner who also played with Tua in college?

7. Detroit Lions: Penei Sewell – OT – Oregon

Detroit needs everything and is sitting at a good spot. Jared Goff is just a bridge for now, but the Lions would be wise to protect him. Some see Sewell as the second best player in the draft, so nabbing him at pick No. 7 is good value.

8. TRADE! Panthers to Washington: Trey Lance – QB – NDSU

Ron Rivera calls his former team to make a deal for a signal caller. Washington signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to be the starter for now, but Fitzpatrick is too streaky to lead a franchise for the entirety of a season. Lance is an intriguing prospect, reminds of Josh Allen.

9. Denver Broncos: Micah Parsons – LB – Penn State

Watching the tape, Parsons jumps off the screen. He deserves to be the first defender off the board. Parsons is most effective rushing the passer and pairing him with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb would be practically unstoppable.

10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II – CB – Alabama

Dallas needs everything on defense. Pairing Surtain with his former teammate in college with Trevon Diggs would make a very solid CB duo moving forward.

11. New York Giants: Rashawn Slater – OL – Northwestern

Slater is the best offensive lineman in the draft. Dave Gettleman loves drafting big people and the Giants could really use him on the line. Will Hernandez and Andrew Thomas have been disappointments and the Giants need to do all they can to keep Daniel Jones upright.

12. Philadelphia Eagles: Jaycee Horn – CB – South Carolina

Can anyone name a cornerback on the Eagles besides Darius Slay? Exactly, neither can Howie Roseman and that’s why they draft Horn at pick 12. Philadelphia prioritizes the CB position and they were interested in signing Adoree’ Jackson. Horn is a physical corner who thrives in zone and press coverage.

Ben Fennell's 2021 NFL draft analysis: cornerback

13. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw – OT – Virginia Tech

Protecting Justin Herbert is priority number one. Darrisaw can come in and start right away.

14. Minnesota Vikings: Kwity Paye – EDGE – Michigan

The Yannick Ngakoue experiment went up in flames very quickly. Mike Zimmer needs pass rushers as Danielle Hunter is coming off a serious neck injury and isn’t happy with his contract. A young pass rusher is much needed in Minnesota.

15. New England Patriots: Mac Jones – QB – Alabama

The worst quarterback in first-round finally comes off the board. Not sure exactly why teams would even consider drafting Jones in the first-round but the Patriots continue to their (foolishly) aggressive approach to the offseason and select a statue to compete with a rundown Cam Newton.

16. Arizona Cardinals: Alijah Vera-Tucker – OL – USC

The Cardinals’ season fell apart when Kyler Murray got injured, protecting him should be priority number one. AVT will be a starter on day one. Wanted to mock Caleb Farley to replace Patrick Peterson but Kyler’s safety is the more important.

17. Las Vegas Raiders: Teven Jenkins – OT – Oklahoma State

Las Vegas is going under reconstruction on the offensive line and Jenkins is the best OL left on the board.

18. Miami Dolphins: Azeez Ojulari – EDGE – Georgia

Miami’s defense was exceptional last season but lack a great pass rusher, especially after releasing Kyle Van Noy. Ojulari is declared to be the best pass rusher by some and nabbing him at pick 18 is great value.

Finally, a little recognition for Georgia's Azeez Ojulari

19. Carolina Panthers: Greg Newsome II – CB – Northwestern

After trading down with Washington, the Panthers are still able to grab a stout cornerback. Newsome is a nice-sized corner and is feisty. Fits what Matt Rhule wants to do on defense.

20. Chicago Bears: Samuel Cosmi – OT – Texas

The Bears need help everywhere on offense but if they’re going to have any chance with Andy Dalton, they have to protect him. Former University of Texas head football coach Tom Herman joined the Bears staff this offseason and can provide plenty of information on Cosmi for Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy.

21. Indianapolis Colts: Alex Leatherwood – OT – Alabama

The run on tackles continue. The Colts need to find a replacement for Anthony Castonzo who retired this offseason.

22. Tennessee Titans: Jaelen Phillips – EDGE – Miami

The Titans need all the pass rush they can find. Phillips has great potential but some teams are concerned with his commitment to football after he retired in college to pursue a rapping career.

23. New York Jets: Jaylen Waddle – WR – Alabama

The fall of Jaylen Waddle finally ends. Hard to envision Waddle falling down to pick 23 but it can happen. Nobody thought CeeDee Lamb would fall to Dallas at pick 17 in last year’s draft. Waddle is the second best WR in the draft and immediately becomes the number one option for Zach Wilson. A steal for the Jets.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Travis Etienne – RB – Clemson

The Steelers were one of the worst running teams last season. The offensive line was in shambles, Ben Roethlisberger was throwing the ball too much, and James Conner is no longer a Steeler. Etienne can do almost everything a team can ask for. He is a one-cut back, a weapon catching the ball out of the backfield, and is a reliable blocker.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevon Moehrig – Safety – TCU

Trevon Moehrig is the best safety in the class. He flashes onto the scene with his burst and plays with a passion that’s very contagious. The Jaguars need a culture change and that’s what Trevor Lawrence and Moehrig bring to the table first and foremost.

Ravens Draft Prospect Profile: Trevon Moehrig

26. Cleveland Browns: Christian Barmore – DT – Alabama

This is too early for Barmore for my liking but teams seem to be very high on him. After releasing Sheldon Richardson for Jadeveon Clowney, the Browns need a big guy in the middle of that defense.

27. Baltimore Ravens: Gregory Rousseau – EDGE – Miami

The Ravens lost both Yannick Ngakoue and Matthew Judon. That defense won’t be close to being the same if it doesn’t have any sort of pass rush. Rousseau is a raw prospect, but he’s explosive and an outstanding athlete.

28. New Orleans Saints: Caleb Farley – CB – Virginia Tech

Farley’s fall finally ends and New Orleans couldn’t be happier to reap the benefits. Farley was once projected to go in the top 10, but back injuries will scare a lot of teams, thus the reason he slides to pick 28.

29. Green Bay Packers: Creed Humphrey – Center – Oklahoma

The Packers lost one of the best centers in the league when Corey Linsley signed with the Chargers. They need to find his replacement and Humphrey does just that.

30. Buffalo Bills: Joseph Ossai – EDGE – Texas

The Bills need a pass rusher to pair with Jerry Hughes and A.J. Epenesa.

2021 NFL Draft: Titans have met with Joseph Ossai 'quite a few times'

31. Baltimore Ravens: Rashod Bateman – WR – Minnesota

The Chiefs trading for Orlando Brown was a great move for them. Not sure why Baltimore traded Brown to a conference contender. However, Lamar Jackson needs more help and Bateman is an underrated prospect that should complement Marquise Brown’s game very well.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Levi Onwuzurike – DT – Washington

The Bucs are in great position to repeat as they returned every starter from the Super Bowl team. They are now drafting for luxury purposes but Onwuzurike can be the eventual replacement of Ndamukong Suh who turned 34 in January.

Top 50 Prospects – March 2021

Here are The Final Count’s top prospects as of March 2021.

*order changed weekly (3.6.21)

Lawrence, TrevorQBClemson
Fields, JustinQBOhio State
Sewell, Penei*OTOregon
Chase, Ja’MarrWRLSU
Waddle, JaylenWRAlabama
Wilson, ZachQBBYU
Pitts, KyleTEFlorida
Surtain II, PatrickCBAlabama
Lance, TreyQBNorth Dakota St
Paye, KwityDEMichigan
Smith, DevontaWRAlabama
Christian DarrisawOTVirginia Tech
Slater, RashawnIOLNorthwestern
Horn, JayceeCBSouth Carolina
Bateman, RashodWRMinnesota
Collins, ZavenOLBTulsa
Farley, CalebCBVirginia Tech
Parsons, MicahOLBPenn State
Basham Jr, CarlosDTWake Forest
Phillips, JaelanDEMiami (FL)
Barmore, ChristianDLAlabama
Moehrig, TrevonFSTCU
Ojulari, AzeezDEGeorgia
Myers, JoshOCOhio State
Harris, NajeeRBAlabama
Davis, WyattOGOhio State
Cisco, AndreFSSyracuse
Jones, MacQBAlabama
Cosmi, SamuelOTTexas
Owusu-Koromah, JeremiahILBNotre Dame
Browning, BaronOLBOhio State
Gregory RousseauDEMiami (FL)
Toney, KadariousWRFlorida
Nixon, DaviyonDLTIowa
Samuel Jr, AsanteCBFlorida State University
Williams, TrillCBSyracuse
Hubert, WyattDEKansas State
Leatherwood, AlexOTAlabama
Mayfield, JalenOTMichigan
Etienne, TravisRBClemson
Rondale MooreWRPurdue
Jones II, PatrickDEPittsburgh
Ford, ParisSSPittsburgh
Sample, CamDTTulane
Moses, DylanILBAlabama
Collins, NicoWRMichigan
Humphrey, CreedOGOklahoma
Tufele, JayDTUSC
Marshall, Terrace Jr.WRLSU
Adebo, PaulsonCBStanford

2021 NFL Draft Profile: Wyatt Hubert

Summary: The Kansas State pass rusher has serious speed on the outside. Hubert utilizes his strength with his physicality on the field. He can speed rush around a lineman or bull rush his way to the backfield. His lower body strength is what stands out most on film. Hubert has elite bend in his lower frame. His explosive first step can have offensive tackles struggling to contain him off the line of scrimmage. Hubert’s hand usage is technical and done with a purpose. A well blended combo of strength and speed are used well by Hubert in pass situations. His arm length (3000) was less than great at the Senior Bowl and it showed in his game. Hubert struggled to get leverage on taller offensive tackles, which led to some mismatches on the outside. As a stand up outside pass rusher, scheme could present an issue to Hubert throughout the draft process. Hubert was mostly used as a pass rusher at Kansas State, but did rotate in on run downs occasionally. He would excel in a 3-4 scheme as a situational pass rusher.

Wyatt Hubert (@Wyatt_Bert) | Twitter

Background: A career 29-game starter who bypassed his senior season to enter the NFL Draft. Hubert finished his career tied for eighth in school history with 20.0 career sacks, while his 34.0 tackles for loss were five shy of entering the school’s top 10. Wyatt finished his career ranked seventh in the nation among active players in sacks per game (0.59) and 10th in tackles for loss per game (1.00). He was born June 13, 1998, in Shawnee, Kansas. Majoring in business management. (Kansas State)

For more on the 2021 NFL Draft

Breaking down the positives of Justin Fields game and how he will translate well to the NFL

It was the second quarter of the College Football Playoff Semifinal Game in 2020. Justin Fields is escaping pressure and gets walloped by Clemson linebacker James Skalski. The play is deemed targeting and Skalski is ejected. Fields, clearly inContinue reading “Breaking down the positives of Justin Fields game and how he will translate well to the NFL”